August 2023

Executive Summary

Enabling digital equity and closing the digital divide has become extremely important and especially exacerbated from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiber is a key piece of infrastructure for data connectivity around the world due to the increased use of telehealth, remote work, online schooling, and an increased demand for connecting more devices that create efficient and safe smart communities. As technology evolves and more devices are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), a higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more reliable connection are needed beyond wireless solutions, twisted pair, and coaxial lines in use throughout society today. Fiber cabling is the preferred medium for data connectivity and has been dubbed “future-proof” by industry experts because of its high data capacity, low-latency, and ability to service a multitude of end devices as once. While fiber cables generally exist in and between major cities, approximately only 43% of the US population has fiber installed to their home , indicating a massive gap in the last-mile market. Installing last-mile and middle-mile optical fiber using conventional methods is inefficient, time consuming, dangerous to the worker and environment, and expensive. Obtaining permits and approvals using these methods regularly takes months to achieve because of design conflicts with existing rights-of-ways and other utilities, soil study requirements, rock, and other environmental influences, like high-water tables. While utility poles are not a preferred option, even though they can be efficient when they are available because one must obtain permission to use the poles, pay “make-ready” fees, and pay additional ongoing fees for each attachment point on the pole. Other conventional methods like Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) aka boring, open trenching, and microtrenching makes optical fiber difficult to install. These techniques are extremely slow, disruptive to daily operations, create a high-risk for damaging existing utilities, and are very expensive.

Conventional Methods Are Outdated

For over 100 years the accepted ways of installing cables have been to bury them underground or string them along utility poles. As technology evolves, more connectivity installed faster is required to the point where the devices exist, so that connectivity and data transfer can occur in real-time. Conventional methods are unable to keep up with these massive demands due to their extraneous time, costs, and hazards to install.

Traditional methods include boring, trenching, microtrenching, and aerial pole hanging. More information on these methods below. 


Traditional Methods Include...

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) aka boring is when large pieces of equipment with angled drill heads are steered to navigate the underground environment. This process limits surface disruptions to the beginning, end point, potholing, and pull areas along the route. To begin a project, all the permitting and underground locating must be completed, and any unavoidable interferences need to be deconflicted. A drill pit is dug and prepared for the equipment to sit while being operated. The specialized drilling muds often require a vacuum truck service. A large bit is aimed into the surface and drilled through the underground environment, attempting to avoid identified risks like utilities, rock, gas pockets, or water. While generally effective, a highly skilled operator must learn the equipment and installation can be achieved at about 600 feet per day. Once the conduit is installed, a fiber cable can be installed in the conduit using a variety of techniques. This method is regularly used to install ducts to avoid hazards like river or culvert crossings, under paved roads or lots, or to avoid railroad crossings .

Aerial Installation is the process of using existing utility poles to string optical fiber aerially. This method requires approvals from permitting and pole owners. includes tens of thousands of manpower hours using crane trucks to carefully hang each cable and can stretch for hundreds of miles. Utility Pole usage is common when trenching and micro-trenching are not viable options in the area and in many cases, they already exist. Aerial poles are non-aesthetic and can cause damage to surrounding buildings, houses, and other infrastructure.

The FiberTRAX Solution

FiberTRAX is generally described as “painting” optical fiber directly on any paved surface. However, there are detailed steps that are performed by an installation machine called a TRAXtor that will install FiberTRAX in a single pass at around 1,000 feet per hour. The FiberTRAX installation process occurs as described below:

Step 1: The TRAXtor will create a small “etch” or “groove” that is approximately 6 to 10 mm wide and 10 mm deep in the surface layer of the pavement or asphalt. The channel helps protect the fiber cable from damage. The TRAXtor will vacuum any debris generated from the channel.

Step 2: The TRAXtor then places a fiber cable into the newly created channel. For past custom projects, TRAXyL has placed multiple cables in the same channel using manual intervention techniques.

Part 3: After, the TRAXtor mixes a Top Coat resin with a catalyst and deposits it over the cable inside the channel. The Top Coat takes 30 to 60 minutes to fully cure and is not hazardous once cured. The Top Coat locks and holds the cable in place and protects the cable from damage and finalizes the FiberTRAX line.

The TRAXtor machine combines these steps into one seamless process that can be completed on-demand. FiberTRAX is a convenient way to install fiberoptic cables to hard-to-reach or underserved areas where trenching and boring are too expensive or otherwise not viable options.


Where there is a road, there is a way. FiberTRAX should be standardized and adopted for fiber optic installations using roadways and sidewalks when it makes more sense to use versus other techniques, and it should be used to connect underserved and hard-to-reach locations.
FiberTRAX is currently installed on numerous Air Force bases, Army Forts, and other DoD sites where boring, trenching, and utility poles were not compatible. FiberTRAX is also installed on the shoulder of a highway bridge, at a church compound, at an apartment community, and at a camp for people with special needs. The speed and ease of FiberTRAX easily outweighed the competition and we continue receiving interest for projects utilizing FiberTRAX installations. FiberTRAX takes the headache out of fiber installations that suffer setbacks due to obstacles from existing utilities or pavement by completely avoiding underground utilities and turning the pavement into the pathway to make the connection possible.


Value Add of FiberTRAX:

• Fast fiber deployment at 1,000 feet an hour
• No disruption to daily operations
• No underground locating
• Inexpensive when compared to conventional methods
• Installations are completed in days versus months
• Small installation teams