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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Using *what* to lay fibre?!

And there was me thinking my idea to train ferrets to run fibre through ducts was out the box!!

This blog post can be read at

A while ago, I discovered that Boeing had used ferrets to run cabling through their airplanes. As you know, I have been ferreting for access to fibre for all of the last decade in order to achieve my vision which is Fibre To The Home. In particular, MY home, but also to every rural home!

Now, courtesy of my friends, I learn that there are more practical ways to lay fibre using animals, and it is being done today in Vermont. A place I am regularly invited to visit to see the projects there, and of course, home of my very good friends and mentors, Tim and Leslie Nulty. Whose most recent success in rural community fibre networks you may have heard about over the last month.....

Yep, you heard it here. Get out your horses, return to the ways of the 50s and before and start ploughing!

This horse is laying fibre in Vermont. Not wishing to take work away from our local digger drivers when the rural fibre lay begins, but it is all about using the right tool for the job.

It is country show time, and there are ploughing competitions up and down the country. If you need to reduce your capex by cutting the costs of civils, I would suggest that a day out at one of these great shows might be the source of a most unexpected member of your community network team.


MB94128 said...

Video link :
"Horses help pull Vermont into the future"
(New England Cable News, 3 Mar. 2011)
[FLV, 11 MB]

Somerset said...

An acre is the amount a man and a horse can plough in a day, what the fibre installation equivalent?

MB94128 said...

Per this article at, they do around 8000 feet (2439 meters or ~ 1.5 miles) on a good day. Here in the U.S. draft horses are not only a part of the Amish and Mennonite communities but have also been used for low impact, rough terrain logging. Horsepower isn't just for the Budweiser Co.

Cybersavvy UK said...

The big debate this has engendered here is how deep can the horse plough? If we are looking to go to 600mm, the farmers here reckon a horse would struggle to get close......

MB94128 said...

I'm an engineer, not an Aggie or a farmer. If one pass only digs so deep, how deep could one get with two or three passes with a mouldboard plough ? If such a plough (or plow) capable of variable depth setting and mounted on a fat-tired bogie can get 200mm's (eight inches) in one pass then your 600mm (twenty-four inch) requirement could be met in three passes.

I can just see a bizarre JFDI mash-up of an aircraft mechanic and a blacksmith contributing the necessary parts to such a specialized rig.