Fiber Micro-Trenching in Germany: Uncovering Critical Concerns
The report revealed that modern fiber deployment techniques, like micro-trenching, are exacerbating a unique problem in Germany – locating the estimated 5.7 million kilometers of underground cables and pipes for gas, power, sewage, telecommunications, and water beneath the nation's streets has become increasingly challenging.
German policymakers and planners are concerned about potential catastrophes, such as the incident with Lufthansa, where construction work accidentally cut through four fiber-optic cables in Frankfurt. This accident caused significant disruptions. According to a 2019 report by Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung, around 100,000 accidental cable cuts occur each year in Germany.
Telekom Deutschland has been trying to address the issue by implementing cost and time-saving measures like micro-trenching and machine learning-aided fiber route planning.
However, critics, including Susanne Hake from the Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie construction lobby group, point out that shallow placement techniques leave fiber-optic cables perilously close to the surface, making them vulnerable to damage during routine construction work.