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With nearly 100% buried fiber, SDN promises unprecedented UPTIME

Crews bury fiber internet in a residential area
SDN Communications is committed to burying its fiber-optic cables, leading to more UPTIME.

In 2019, three tornadoes struck Sioux Falls, causing widespread outages and damage to utility lines. SDN Communications had zero outages in its services. Why? Because 99.99% of SDN’s fiber is buried four feet down, protecting it from major weather events.

SDN, which provides services including business internet to organizations in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, has made the commitment to place its fiber underground, giving the company an advantage over other service providers, says Chris Haiar, Manager of Outside Plant Engineering.

“Other companies may use other mediums such as copper and coax cables that gives their customers limited bandwidths," he said. "SDN takes fiber cable directly to the customer so bandwidth options are unlimited.”

Haiar answered a few questions about why fiber-optic cables are so important to SDN Communications and its services:

What does it mean to have underground fiber?

"SDN delivers our services through fiber-optic cable, which we bury four feet underground. This is versus aerial placement, which many other providers use. Aerial placements consist of hanging fiber cable between utility pole spans."

Does SDN have all of its fiber underground?

"Technically, we have 99.99% of our fiber underground. We have a very small stretch of aerial fiber in the Black Hills where the terrain is too rocky to accommodate underground burial."

SDN Communications Manager of Outside Plant Engineering Chris Haiar

Why is buried fiber a better option?

"Lightning, wind, ice, rodents and automobile accidents can bring down utility poles and anything attached to them. This could lead to customer outages or downtime."

What are other advantages to having underground fiber?

"SDN uses an underground placement method called directional drilling. This placement method allows us to place multiple innerducts at the same time. Our fiber-optic cable goes into one of the innerducts, leaving the others spare. The spare innerducts are used in case of an emergency. For instance, we can pull additional cables into the spare innerduct. This improves our restoration time and efficiency. We also use the spare ducts for future growth. If the original cable is at capacity, we simply pull in additional cable. This process gives SDN a huge advantage in providing customer UPTIME."

LEARN MORE: Why choose SDN's business internet services?

What are the challenges to having nearly 100% buried fiber?

"Placing our outside plant network underground does come with a price. It costs at least three times more for a buried outside plant network versus aerial outside plant."

What are ways that buried fiber improves service?

"Like the adage says, “Out of sight out of mind.” From a security standpoint, vandals don’t have access to our underground network. With our network buried, nobody can tell we are even there, giving our customers the most secure network in the region."

Considering that it is more costly, why does SDN offer buried fiber?

"SDN strives to provide the best experience for our customers. Having our outside plant network buried allows us to provide the uptime our customers deserve."

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SDN prides itself on providing customers with the most consistent UPTIME. This is achieved partially thanks to our buried fiber. It’s a commitment SDN has made to the customer and to itself.

Enjoy the UPTIME!