2009 A Bumpy Road But Bright Future Awaits HDD

11th Annual HDD Survey
By Robert Carpenter, Editor | June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6

While telecom work has been spotty depending upon what area of the country you are working in, it has been steady. Verizon is still intent on their quest to spend $2 billion per year growing their fiber network. AT&T has been concentrating less on build-out of new fiber and more on utilizing the network they’ve already got in place with fiber trunk lines. They continue to push their hybrid U-Verse system.

Others are following suit to some degree or another. Cable giants, which at one point seemed to have the upper hand, are now increasingly finding themselves in a competitive situation – something they are not used to. Cable is being forced to improve and grow their networks to keep up. Especially with the advent of VoiP, the traditional definitions between telephone companies and cable companies no longer apply. The lines of structure separating cable and telephone are blurred and separated only be government rules and classifications. But the key to the fiber-to-the-premises market continues to hinge on finances. To truly chase the big dollars of businesses, telecom companies need also to create a consumer base. However, creating and funding the fiber-to-the-premises market is still the Holy Grail of the telecom market.

Underground electric installations still face an uphill battle with the “it’s way too expensive” argument. The flawed and now largely irrelevant Electric Power Research Institute study which placed the infamous cost estimate of a underground electric installation at $1 million per mile, is far too often pulled out of the vault whenever a utility company comes under fire for not going underground. This too is changing as new studies – including one by a state corporation commission – reflect true modern cost factors.

What is the most common type of pipe installed via HDD?


With the recent boom in oil and natural gas pipeline drilling, the number of contractors doing over $20 million in HDD volume increased from 6 percent in 2007 to 6.4 percent in 2008. Perhaps demonstrating the increased frequency of small HDD rig use and broad applications, the number of contractors doing less than $500,000 in work increased from 27 percent to 37.6; contract values of $500,000 to $1 million was 23.8 percent; $1 million to $5 million was 26.6 percent and $5 million to $10 million was 5.5 percent.

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