The Dutch operator’s new network test uses majority recycled plastic, as well as a thinner cable requiring less insulation than a typical deployment

As of September, Dutch operator KPN will be trialling a new form of fibre optic network made of 90% recycled plastic. 
The final 10% of new plastic is used to manufacture the tube into which the fibre optic cable itself is positioned. 
The deployment, which will be trialled in Buitenpost and Nijmegen Dukenburg, also features an innovative new cable design which is thinner than traditional designs, helping to reduce overall plastic usage by around 50%. The new, thinner cable measures just 4.5mm within a 10mm tube, compared to a more typical fibre cable which is around 6mm thick within a 14mm tube.
While this directly reduces the plastic used for the fibre deployment itself, it also has positive knock-on effects for the deployment process as a whole. For example, the cables thinner profile will allow more cable to fit on a reel, reportedly reducing the number of wooden reels required by around 70%; in turn, this leads to fewer freight shipments being required.
“Due to the smaller and more flexible cables and pipes, the often full cable routes are less stressed. In addition, they are easier to install and spare tubes can be reused,” said Erik van den Oever, Commercial Director Telecom Benelux within Prysmian Group, who was commercially responsible for the development of the concept.
If these trials prove successful, KPN intends to make wider use technology in many of its future deployments.
“Our ambition is not only to provide as many people as possible with superfast internet, we also want to do this in a sustainable way. Our customers want that too. This new development makes a further contribution to this,” said EVP of fixed access networks at KPN.
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