Officials Get Up Close View of “Microtrenching”

SAUGERTIES – Sullivan County Legislature Vice Chair Mike Brooks, County Manager Josh Potosek and other County representatives traveled to Saugerties earlier this month to inspect a faster and more efficient method of deploying the latest super-high-speed fiber-optic networks with multi-gig service to homes and businesses.

The visit was part of the ongoing collaboration between Sullivan County and Archtop Fiber, a private startup that is deploying its fiber service across the Hudson Valley including Sullivan County and surrounding regions.

“Having made my living in the cable and telecommunications industries for decades, I was eager to see how this innovative and efficient way to lay cable underground actually works,” said Brooks. “I’m excited about the possibilities this poses for Archtop’s plans in Sullivan.”

The minimally invasive process of “microtrenching” employs a specialized machine to slice a tiny, one-inch-wide trench in pavement to a depth of up to two feet beneath the road surface, but above sewer, water, gas and electrical infrastructure.

“With utility pole infrastructure in the region causing extraordinary delays and increases in cost, Archtop is always seeking out the latest, most efficient methods to deploy fiber across the Hudson Valley,” said Shawn Beqaj, Chief Development Officer for Archtop. “Our use of very narrow underground trenches allows us to deploy faster with less impact on our neighborhoods.”

Sullivan County has signed a memorandum of understanding with Archtop Fiber to jointly develop a plan to extend multi-gig fiber within the County. The technology being deployed is capable of providing both upload and download speeds up to 10Gbps. Archtop is investing several hundreds of millions of dollars across the Hudson Valley, and this agreement will allow the County to participate in both the planning of that private investment as well as upcoming NY State ConnectALL efforts to support the extension of broadband to unserved and underserved homes and businesses across the County and region.

Additionally, Sullivan County’s emergency communication towers will be connected to Archtop’s network with the goal of offering wireless broadband service to areas that otherwise would be significantly difficult or expensive to reach with fiber.

“They have already started to install their multi-gig fiber within certain areas of the Hudson Valley and are waiting on permits to attach to public utility poles in order to complete the first phase of construction,” Potosek explained. “This microtrenching technique will allow them to serve our more populated locations without having to string wires above ground.”
Local service in Sullivan County is anticipated to start in 2024.

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