Obstacles in Remote Locations

In remote locations and sparsely populated areas, the long distances make FTTH rollout pricey. It is difficult to bury cables in rocky areas. In some places, the protection of historic monuments or lack of permission can stop cables being laid underground. Does an isolated farmhouse need a fiber optic connection? Is it really worth connecting an attractive, but remote mountain village?

The more the market demands FTTH, the more often network operators are confronted with questions of this kind. They have to decide whether it makes sense to lay cables underground.

Alternative: aerial deployment

Aerial deployment is the alternative.

The advantages:

  • Aerial deployment costs only a fraction of underground cabling. Due to its relatively favorable CAPEX/ OPEX ratio, aerial cabling remains attractive for rural areas. It is often the only solution for an FTTH rollout.
  • Aerial cables are easy to suspend between masts and buildings – even over longish distances.
  • The network can be expanded quickly, at short notice and with very little planning effort.
  • Residents and traffic are not disturbed with civil engineering works.
  • Masts used by existing electricity and telephone networks can be used.

The disadvantages:

  • The risk of downtime is high. Storms, lightning, ice, accidents, birds, and sabotage can break the cables.
  • The environment is constantly changing. Network operators have to check the routes and keep them clear of vegetation.
  • The cables age due to sunshine, temperature fluctuations, and mechanical forces. But there are suitable highly stable, durable products on the market – for example, the flat, self-supporting cables produced by R&M’s cable plant.

First steps in planning

Initially, there are four aspects which are important for the careful and early planning of FTTH aerial deployment in remote locations:

  • Familiarization with the location of the conduits and climatic conditions on site
  • Specification of the span of the suspended cables and how much the cables might shrink or expand
  • Selection of highly robust material for tension relief, insulation, mounting, distribution housing, splice and connection boxes, etc.
  • Standardization of the range to be able to build and carry out maintenance work efficiently


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Lars Züllig

By Lars Züllig