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Question 16/15 – Optical physical infrastructure and cables
(Continuation of Question 2/6 and Question 7/6)


It is a fact that increasing demand of higher capacity due to new products and services is requiring enhancements for the Access Network – basically, approaching optical fibre to the final customer. As result of this, new passive elements and techniques for outside plant operation including maintenance will be required.

In this context, the spread of optical fibre cables into the premises areas will be a key issue; when new infrastructures are needed because of the lack of available ducts, to make physical connections and to install new optical fibre cables in urban areas, where traffic and interaction with end customers in general, will be a challenge. And also cable installation in existing buildings without specific infrastructure being available for these new elements. Possible solutions include installation of cables into existing facilities for other utilities (e.g., gas pipes, water conduits and sewers) or innovative techniques like microtrenching. Furthermore, new cable constructions which are suitable to those kinds of applications may also be required.

Solutions related to wired installations at customer premises shall be analysed, in order to obtain the maximum performance when distributing high bandwidth services, with the minimum disturbance for the customer.

Finally, activities on installation of marinized terrestrial cables (MTC), as part of the terrestrial short and long distance network also need to be considered. Their natural life has been notably increased in the last ten to fifteen years thanks to improvements in the materials used and in the manufacturing processes. So, to safeguard such benefits, and to make use of all potential life of the cables, it is fundamental to carry out some periodic underwater inspections and maintenance programs and/or cable repairs in case of failure. Moreover, possible solutions have to take into consideration the current available underwater technologies and modern execution methodologies from the underwater offshore sector.


Study items to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the best method to install optical fibre cables and other network elements in buildings?
  • How do telecommunication cables enter the user premises?
  • What are the desirable optical fibre cable construction types for a drop cable application?
    Note: Drop cables are used for the last hundreds of metres connection between an access network and customers.
  • What is the possible evolution of installation techniques also using facilities for other utilities (such as water-pipes, gas-duct and etc.)?
  • What are the desirable optical fibre cable construction types for existing infrastructure not intended for telecommunication (for example water-pipe, gas-duct and in-building applications)?
  • What is the best strategy when constructing new infrastructure, taking into account integrity of installation, maintenance and growth issues?
  • What are the state of the art and future technologies for optical fibre cables?
  • What kinds of problems occur on optical fibre cables which are installed in the field?
  • Which trench dimension can reduce impact of the work site for the community?
  • When considering micro/mini-trenching, which cooperation between different machines in the work site can accelerate infrastructure construction?, Which filling materials can ensure leaving the working site in a short time?, Which instruments can reduce effort for mini-trenching technologies deployment in urban areas?
  • Which new solutions for mapping the underground networks can improve the construction and maintenance operations?
  • Which are the MTC plants for which periodic inspection is recommended? (which are the recommended periodicity and possible techniques and equipment required for inspection?)
  • Which are the techniques of intervention for the maintenance of MTC cables? And the applicable techniques for the localization of cable faults?
  • Which are the principal techniques of intervention for MTC cable repair, including principal resources for interventions?
  • Do existing ITU-T Recommendations and /or handbooks provide a suitable description of the construction and protection of MTCs?


Tasks include, but are not limited to,

Developing Recommendations on:

  • Installation of cables and infrastructure inside gas ducts (2010)
  • Solutions for installation of ducts and cables in an occupied infrastructure (2010)
  • An optical fibre cable constructions for a new application (such as water-pipe and gas-duct applications), if required. (2010)
  • Installation of cables and other infrastructure for distribution of broadband services to and in customer premises (2010)
  • Constructions of optical fibre cables for drop application.(2010)
  • Installation of optical fibre cable by replacing of existing copper cables (2009)
  • Innovative and fast solution for low impact mini-trench installation technique (2010)
  • Innovative and fast solution for mapping underground networks (2010)
  • Inspection activities on underwater cables, such as MTCs, with reference to:
    • shallow water and medium/deep water methodologies.
    • ables buried/protected and cable un-protected on seabed.
  • Modern facilities and instruments to be utilised for underwater cables detection and inspection (2010)
  • Underwater cables fault localization and principal methodologies to be adopted for cable repairing interventions (2011)

Revising Recommendations on:

  • Existing recommendations on optical fibre cables. (2012)
  • Existing recommendations on installation methods. (2012)

Take as reference the Table in Annex 1.

NOTE: An up-to-date status of work under this Question is contained in the SG15 Work Programme at




  • ITU-T L-series and G.65x series


  • Q5/15, Q17/15, Q18/15, Q19/15

Standardisation bodies, forums and consortia:

  • IEC SC86A


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Updated : 2008-12-23