Ultrafast drainage engineers help keep full fibre roll-out on track

Drainage engineers at Lanes Group plc are helping cable installers clear stubborn blockages in ducts – so they can meet tight deadlines to deliver ultrafast broadband to thousands of homes.

The duct jetting services are saving the installation teams from having to pay out huge sums to excavate blockages or reroute ducts – and also ensuring contract payments flow smoothly.

The Lanes Cardiff depot is working with fibre cable installers across South Wales as they work hard to install a new service network as part of a national programme to grow the UK’s digital economy.

Lanes Cardiff Area Development Manager Kyle Burgess said: “Our sewer jetting capabilities are proving very useful to our clients to keep their ultrafast fibre installation progammes up to speed.

“When they find they can’t pull a cable through a particular duct, they can call us, knowing we will respond ultra-quickly by deploying a jet vac tanker to clear the blockage and clear the tube.”

Lanes Cardiff has two smaller CityFlex jet vac tankers in its drainage vehicle fleet. These are ideal for supporting cable installers in residential areas where space is limited.

It has also invested in special, smaller diameter jetting hoses. Their plastic coatings make them slip through the narrow ducts more easily. This allows the jetting head to reach blockages further away from the duct entry point.

New ultrafast broadband fibre-optic cables are being installed in plastic ducts that have been in place for some years. Over time, silt can build up in them, creating the hidden blockages.

Some blockages occur in ducts in the middle of small villages, where local councils are unhappy about allowing excavations to take place because of the disruption they would cause.

Others are found under open countryside, where excavation is not an option because of the high cost of working in an isolated location, or concerns raised by farmers or conservation bodies.

Where even water jetting cannot clear a blockage – usually because the duct has collapsed – the Lanes crews can mark up its location, so excavations can be carried out as quickly as possible.

Kyle Burgess said: “Jetting the blockages or desilting a longer stretch of ducting is by far the fastest and least costly option for broadband installers.

“Thanks to our capacity and capability as a large drainage depot, supported by the resources of a very large national drainage specialist, we can react quickly to calls for help.

]”We can also carry out a mini programme of duct desilting across multiple sites, if that’s what our clients prefer.

“We’re making the work of broadband service installers much easier, reducing costs, and helping them meet challenging installation targets that determine the level of income they generate.”

The cable installers are supporting a plan to deliver ultrafast full fibre broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by 2026. The government wants the programme to make gigabit capable broadband available to over 85% of the UK.

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