Verizon is working with the City to streamline installation of new fiber-optics
This week, the City of New York and Verizon announced the launch of an innovative pilot program to speed the deployment of fiber-optic cabling to businesses and residences across the five boroughs while minimizing construction time, environmental impact and cost. Called "micro-trenching," this initiative demonstrates and tests the effectiveness of installing small conduits within the edges of city sidewalks to house fiber-optic cabling, which can be used to deliver voice, Internet and cable-television service.
The excess capacity provided by micro-trenching will be available for use by other communications industry providers, as well as by city agencies, at no cost for the duration of the pilot.
Based upon the results of the pilot -- the first of its kind in any large city in the country -- New York City may expand the use of micro-trenching citywide as a construction option available for communications-industry providers. Micro-trenching is the latest initiative in the comprehensive effort to expand local broadband connectivity and bolster its growing tech sector.
"Broadband is the lifeblood of many New Yorkers and businesses, fundamentally transforming the ways in which they interact with and thrive in the world-at-large," said NYC Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant. Now we are extending that transformation to underserved areas across the five boroughs. "Whether it is restoring service to storm-ravaged areas or extending it to new ones, the innovative micro-trenching pilot will allow the city to speed deployment of fiber optics while minimizing the impacts to the very communities it is helping to improve. And the excess capacity for competing providers means that New Yorkers can be afforded true options in cost and connectivity as the reach of this vital infrastructure continues to expand."
Now underway at 12 sites across the five boroughs, the micro-trenching agreement between the city Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Department of Transportation, and Verizon comes at no taxpayer cost, and will assess the feasibility of micro-trenching as a citywide fiber-optic cable deployment method. Under the conditions of the pilot program, Verizon is installing conduits and fiber in pre-approved locations in the five boroughs along and below city sidewalks via micro-trenching. Also known as saw cutting, micro-trenching allows the placement of flexible conduit and fiber-optic cable in narrow, shallow trenches utilizing expansion joints between sidewalk flags and between the curb and the sidewalk flags.
"Micro-trenching has been a method used more commonly within roadways in suburban or rural areas," said Verizon Executive Director for National Operations Chris Levendos. "In highly populated areas, such as New York City, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to deploy fiber traditionally without causing major disruption to city residents, commuters and small business owners. Verizon recognized the opportunity to leverage the benefits of micro-trenching to improve and expand broadband capability across all five boroughs quicker with much less disturbance."
As part of the agreement, the excess capacity provided by the installed duct systems -- at least four pathways on low-density residential blocks and six pathways in other areas -- will be available for use by other communications industry providers, as well as by city agencies, at no cost for the duration of the pilot program.
Unlike traditional street trenching, micro-trenching is a cost-effective method of deploying fiber-optic cabling as it allows quick deployment of fiber optics with both minimal disruption to street and roadway traffic and minimal interference with public utility infrastructure. In the process of installing and maintaining micro-trenching facilities, for example, Verizon will notcut, damage, or otherwise interferewithor affecttree roots, anylight poles, utility poles orstreet furniture. Upon the completion of work at each site, the company will fully restore all affected curbs, sidewalk slabs and street surfaces to their original condition.
More information on the pilot, as well as instructions for requesting access to the new conduits available via micro-trenching, can be found on NYC.gov.
This new effort builds on the suite of initiatives announced by the City last year to significantly expand broadband connectivity. These includeConnectNYC, a competition to build out fiber wiring for commercial and industrial buildings; a grading program for connectivity in New York City buildings; a crowd-sourced digital map highlighting wired buildings citywide; and a streamlined process for broadband-related permitting as well as exploring the streamlining of regulatory issues.