Increasing US broadband speed with Microducts, look toward South Korea

By Logan Bridges

As microducts and microtrenching gain momentum in the US broadband market, South Korea’s progress provides a roadmap.

Microduct conduit, when paired with microtrenching, can be an economical solution for reducing network building, construction and reinstallation costs. We covered some of the ins and outs of Microducts with our Future Proofing with Microducts blog. Microducts and micro-cabling provide an alternative and less expensive option to rebuild, enhance and improve data pathways. This combination is anticipated to gain popularity and acceptance both domestically and internationally.

In 2019, network developer SiFi Networks began construction and installation of one of the largest privately funded fiber optic networks in Fullerton, CA using mictrotrenching. Other major cities across the U.S. that have already used mictrotrenching to install their communications pathway solutions include Austin, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Louisville.

Lessons from South Korea

Nowhere has this been done on a larger scale than in South Korea. South Korea is known for having the fastest broadband connections in the world and average four times faster than those typically found in the United States. In the 2000s, South Korea, successfully installed a universal fiber network primarily via aerial cabling. The country has now chosen to upgrade this aerial cabling for aesthetic and safety reasons and selected mini trenching and direct burial for the fiber overhaul.

Last year, the South Korean government’s Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) announced an infrastructure investment of USD $488 million for the 2020 Aerial Cable Improvement Project. More than 60 percent (around US $300 million) of the investment has been allocated to mini trenching and approximately US $190 million will be spent on direct cable burial. Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city with more than 3 million people has been selected as the pilot city for mini trenching.

South Korea has made communication and connectivity a priority for decades. By the late 1980s the nation achieved universal status in telecommunications. In May 2020, South Korea President Moon Jae-in commented that Korea “has excellent infrastructure and is ranked No.1 worldwide for competitive edge in the ICT sector.” President Moon Jae-in will continue to make ICT a priority domestically and internationally adding, “We will work to help the Republic of Korea emerge as a globally leading ‘digital powerhouse’ with innovative business ventures and startups serving as the main driving force.”

How it Works

Mini-trenching, also referred to as microtrenching, is a significant part of South Korea’s aerial upgrade plan and an economical option compared to traditional cabling installation. Mini and microtrenching involves installing small conduits, primarily Microduct fiber optic cabling, into very small slot-cut trenches about 1 in. to 1.5 in. wide and 4 in. to 14 in. deep in roadways, sidewalks and parking lots. This deployment method is minimally invasive, rarely damages or disrupts existing infrastructure all the while offering much less traffic and overall construction/installation-related disruption.

MicroPath™ is United Poly Systems' exclusive Microduct piping system. Each run of the pipe has built-in micro ducts that run fiber cabling in a tight, safe casing. Extra ducts can be left open, allowing for future expansion. MicroPath can be very narrowly trenched to avoid traffic closures. It is available in almost any color including translucent with tape, detectable tape, and with indoor options. UPS can provide a full line of Microduct cabling for new communication installations as well as infrastructure upgrades.

Call UPS today for more information on our MicroPath products.

About United Poly Systems

United Poly Systems produces quality HDPE pipe in diameters from ¾-in. to 26-in. IPS, 4-in. to 24-in. DIPS and ¾-in. to 2-in. CTS for use in many industries including telecommunications, power utility, water, electrical and oil and gas. The market for HDPE pipe continues to expand as initiatives to improve, repair and expand the country’s infrastructure are implemented. 

Our off-the-shelf HDPE conduit/pipe is available in a variety of sizes, colors, dimensions and lengths, with or without stripes. We also offer fully customizable HDPE conduit options. In addition, piping can be customized with a ribbed interior (to maximize the distance cable may be pulled or jetted), pull tape, or a lubricated interior (for easier installation).  

Success at UPS can be attributed to our vast experience, extensive client relationships, state-of-the-art manufacturing and quality processes.  Our agile business model that allows UPS to quickly meet customers’ needs without the overhead expenses that are incurred by many of the larger producers in the industry. 

Conveniently located in Springfield, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico, United Poly Systems can provide quick delivery to a majority of the U.S. market.  

Tags: MicroPath, Conduit