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Verizon Using Microtrenching To Install Fiber-Optic System In NYC

A microtrench on East 7th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

A microtrench on East 7th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - By the end of 2014, the plan is for all of New York City to be connected with fiber-optic wires. Now there is a new way for to get this done without getting in your way.

For a hundred years, wiring the city meant giant saws cutting trenches in the streets, blocking traffic and parking for days.

But on East 7th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D, Verizon‘s Executive Director for National Operations, Chris Levendos, showed off the new way they’re doing it.

“Just looks like a sidewalk to me,” observed WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

“Yeah. It sure does,” said Levendos. “After these guys are done, you wouldn’t even have known we were here.”

This generation’s fiber-optic cables are so small they can fit in what’s called a microtrench, one inch right in the edge of the sidewalk.

Infrastructure being laid on Broadway in the early 1900s (credit: Verizon)

Infrastructure being laid on Broadway in the early 1900s (credit: Verizon)

“Faster. More efficiently,” said Levendos.

They’re working with the city to try it out in 12 spots as a pilot project, since current DOT guidelines don’t allow for it.

Some sites, including the one East 7th Street and Avenue C, were chosen because they’re areas where copper cabling was destroyed by superstorm Sandy and Verizon needed to expedite the rollout of fiber-optic service.

“There’s less noise involved cause the process is shortened. We’re not using big backhoes. We’re not using big dump trucks,” he said.

“It’s our hopes to drive competition,” said Associate Information Technology Commissioner Steve Harte.

That could mean you paying less and having more choices.