GCF at work for cabling in optic fiber

The sites for the installation of the ultra-wide band in 30 countries, were opened

By the end of the year, 30 peripheral centres connected with ultra-wide band

Over 25,000 residential units built by the end of the year with network in optical fiber. This is the goal of the construction sites that GCF has initiated or scheduled for the forthcoming opening in thirty peripheral centres, mainly located in Belluno and Vicenza area. Small centres and villages where the overcoming of the digital divide is a key condition for the future. Now more than ever.

With SAI scarl consortium, founded with Sirti, GCF entered the market of the ultra-wide band a couple of years ago, obtaining projects from Open Fiber foreseen for Mise (Ministry for Economic Development) in the cabling Plan of the national territory in FTTH technology (Fiber to the Home).

The Plan foresees two typical macro-areas: A&B clusters, including cities of high population density, and C&D clusters, settlements located in peripheral areas (“market failure” areas as defined by MISE) where the adoption of a network infrastructure of ultra-wide band is considered strategic to overcome conditions that hinder development.

“As it can be easily understood - explains Fabrizio Carnevali, GCF’s manager - the pandemic and consequent lockdown pointed out even more so, the need to overcome the digital divide, boosting cabling projects of C&D clusters. Local administrations intensified the requests and Open Fiber made any possible effort to speed up the design phases, in order to provide efficient connection to citizens, enterprises and families, a key and essential tool that we can no longer do without”.

While the tests on cabled networks performed in the last few months by GCF in Salerno, Modena, Varese, Busto Arsizio and Ancona Nord are being completed, and sites are being opened in other two A&B clusters (Cesena and Thiene), the biggest effort of GCF’s optical Fiber Department is now focused on works that have been started or forthcoming, in low density population clusters mostly in the territory of Belluno (Vallada Agordina, Canale d’Agordo, Cencenighe Agordino, Taibon Agordino, Agordo, Rivamonte Agordino, San Tommaso Agordino, Voltago Agordino, Pedavena, Fonzaso) and Vicenza (Sossano, Asiago, Campiglia dei Berici, Pojana Maggiore, Villaverla, Montecchio Precalcino, Quinto Vicentino), in addition to Varese (Cavaria con Premezzo , Solbiate Arno, Venegono Superiore).

Optic fiber cabling

Fibra Ottica, schema del cablaggio

About one hundred workers organized in small flexible teams according to the type of work, operate every day in these centres equipped with mini-excavators, bobcats, mechanical blades, trucks, drills and milling cutters. Their task is to connect the POP, Point of Presence, meaning the point of arrival of the large optic fiber backbones, with primary Connection Points (PFP) and secondary connection points (PFS o CNO, in case of C&D cluster), in suitable cabinets where each single fiber is divided in more terminal fibers, up to PTE, End Point - in case of C&D cluster, at a distance of less than 40 metres from residential buildings where ROE (Building Optical Distributor) is located, the box from which telephone operators will connect each single utility.

 “Cabling these centres - explains Carnevali - will require 30-35 km of excavation and to install about 250 km of fiber. Since the design phase, the main criterion is to minimize the impact of the works. Therefore, where possible, existing infrastructures will be used, such as public illumination lines and ducts, owned by the single Municipalities. Alternatively, when existing lines cannot be used, we resort to excavation techniques that, differently from traditional excavations, have a low environmental, sound and economic impact”.

In addition to the mini-trenches, only 10 cm wide- hence with reduced restoring costs- and performed with milling cutters able to suck discard materials, reducing dust and inconveniences for citizens, the privileged technique, called “no dig”, foresees soil drilling up to about 2/3 metres of depth using remotely-guided drills able to excavate horizontal tunnels of sections from 100 to 200 metres, starting from a launching well: an “invisible” system on the surface, which does not require restoration works and has a minimal sound impact.

Fabrizio Carnevali continues: “These two low-impact techniques have covered about 80% of the excavation area so far, minimizing the impact of cabling works on people. A primary aspect, since it concerns 31,000 buildings connected with almost 500 km of optic fiber laid in 126,000 metres of ducts”.

With this new operating phase in peripheral clusters, over 25,000 families will be able to enjoy the ultra-wide band by the end of the year. An important step for the future of areas where development is linked to the overcoming of isolation conditions and the digital divide.