As work to bring gigabit capable broadband to County Durham homes and businesses continues, we take a closer look at one of the first stages of fibre deployment.
What is test, rod and roping?
Underground ducts and pipes play a crucial role in our daily lives, transporting utilities such as water, gas, and the increasingly important telecommunications. However, with most of this crucial infrastructure being years old, it’s essential to ensure they’re functioning correctly before trying to use them to house fibre.
The test, rod and roping method is a tried-and-tested technique involving the use of specialised tools and equipment to inspect and clear blockages in underground ducts and pipes. Broadband network providers use this method is to identify and address any issues that might stop fibre being able to pass through the duct.
To begin, a flexible rod, commonly known as a “test rod,” is inserted into the duct or pipe through access points. The test rod is manoeuvred through the entire length of the underground duct or pipe, providing valuable information about the condition of the system, detecting any obstacles such as a silt blockage, or abnormalities such as a duct joint being out of line.
Once a potential issue is identified using the test rod, a sturdy rope is attached to it, and the roping process begins. By carefully pulling the rope, technicians can clear blockages and remove debris.
Why carry out test, rod and roping?
Many broadband network providers use the test, rod and roping method for the various benefits it has:
- It’s a cost-effective solution. Test, rod and roping minimises the need for extensive digging and the disruption and expense that this causes.
- It saves time. This real-time assessment allows for targeted repairs, ensuring that only the affected areas are addressed, saving time and resources.
- It minimises environmental impact. The technique is non-destructive and it eliminates the need for excessive digging and excavation, preserving the surrounding landscape.