Biggest installation of cables NZ has ever seen

Press Release – Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand

IPENZ commends the Government’s broadband investment initiative – however considerable attention will need to be given to the logistics of installing the huge lengths of cable required to deliver the new high speed broadband. “More than 25,000 km of …

31st March 2009
Engineers – new broadband biggest installation of cables NZ has ever seen

IPENZ commends the Government’s broadband investment initiative – however considerable attention will need to be given to the logistics of installing the huge lengths of cable required to deliver the new high speed broadband.

“More than 25,000 km of cable – that compares to the total roading length of 100,000 km will be required to install the broadband and this raises the issue of how this fibre cable will be installed,” says Tim Davin, Director of Policy for the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ). “Installing new cables overhead has been very controversial in the past, trenchless technology using self-directing drills are suitable for only some types of soils like Auckland or Christchurch, but not for cities like Wellington. Conventional trenching is the tried and true method for the installation of underground services but can be extremely costly,” says Mr Davin.

“What the installers of services often don’t realise is the importance of the integrity of the road pavement, the need to replace roading materials, to compact and seal it. Their focus is on their telecommunications service and they don’t appreciate the damage they are doing to our roads and foot paths,” he says. “Hence there can be hidden costs or unanticipated consequences.”

“There have been some recent best practice initiatives – the Broadband Protocol between Local Government NZ and the Telecommunications Carriers Forum, and the National Code of Practice for Utilities Access to Transport Corridors. These set out frameworks for promoting co-operation between telecommunication companies and councils, and provide a good basis for the new initiative. But let’s not underestimate the challenges that this large installation poses.”

“The draft proposal indicates that with the aim of reducing the cost of the network, legislation may be needed on installation. This is a very fraught area. If this meant enabling widespread use of overhead reticulation – particularly where there is none now, this would upset many communities.”

“Whilst IPENZ is very supportive of the benefits of broadband to contribute to improved economic performance, productivity and for education and health services, let’s not underestimate the challenges posed by such a large scale installation of cable.”

ENDS

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