Underground Construction - June 2022 - 28

24th Annual Directional Drilling Survey
Still, even with funding readily available
for fiber projects, market challenges
continue to inhibit rapid expansion for
many contractors.
" It's never dull, " deadpanned a Southwest
region fiber optic contractor in his
survey responses. " Now, when we have
money just waiting to be spent, we can't
gear up enough to take advantage of market
conditions. "
He was citing the well-documented
supply chain issues handicapping virtually
all U.S. business since 2021. With billions
already being invested for new fiber instalRig
size (% of market)
2018
10
20
30
40
50
60
3.3 3.1 3.0 2.0
Jumbo
(more than 300,000
pounds/pullback)
Age of HDD Fleet
2016
50
40
36.8
33.0
31.0
30
25.0 26.0 25.8 25.9 25.4
23.2
20
12.8
10
14.3
13.2 13.7
13.9
12.5
26.2 26.2 25.9
24.8
26.1
34.6 34.6 35.4 36.0
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
1.2
Large
(100-300,000
pounds/pullback)
Mid
(40,000-100,000
pounds/pullback)
Mini
(under 40,000
pounds/pullback)
2019
2020
2021
55.3 54.2 54.0 54.8
2022
Estimated
58.2
lation, on May 17 the Biden administration
released another $55 billion from the
Infrastructure Investment bill dedicated
for rural or underserved markets.
However, after two years of pandemic
and shortages, the market is struggling to
keep up with demand for construction
and the equipment necessary to perform
the work, not to mention obtaining
labor. While microtrenching and a variety
of technologies are commonly used
to install fiber to homes and businesses,
directional drilling is generally preferred,
especially in more heavily populated
areas, due to speed of installation and
social costs. Plus, supply chain issues
have also been limiting other types of
underground infrastructure equipment.
" We'd buy 10 rigs today if they were
available, " complained a
mid-Atlantic
contractor. " We're slowly getting rigs but
it's taking months instead of weeks, so we
just get further behind. "
Another contractor from the Midwest
explained that " it's not just a rig shortage
that's hurting us. We finally got a new rig
but now we're having trouble getting drill
pipe and tools for all our equipment. It's
not as big a delay as the rigs but still, it's
slowing us down. "
A common issue frequently cited by
survey respondents was actually a significant
problem before the pandemic - lack
of skilled workers and a labor force, in
general. After the pandemic, the problem
still exists at acute levels.
29.1 30.2 30.8 32.2 32.2
12.3 12.5 12.2
10.7
8.4
" We've been short of people for four
or five years now, " said this contractor
from the Western U.S. Mountain states
region. " We have training programs and
bonuses in place and have even worked
with a tech school - all that has helped.
Still, we are always short of people with
too few applying for jobs. It seems to
have gotten worse after COVID. "
The good news for the booming fiber
business is that supplies and equip10
years or greater
5-10 years
28 JUNE 2022 | UCONonline.com
2-5 years
< 2 years
http://www.UCONonline.com

Underground Construction - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - June 2022

Contents
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover1
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover2
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Contents
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 4
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 5
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 6
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 7
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 8
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 9
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 10
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 11
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 12
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 13
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 14
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 15
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 16
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 17
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 18
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 19
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 20
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 21
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 22
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 23
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 24
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 25
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 26
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 27
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 28
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 29
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 30
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 31
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 32
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 33
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 34
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 35
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 36
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 37
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 38
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 39
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 40
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 41
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 42
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 43
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 44
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 45
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 46
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 47
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 48
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 49
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 50
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 51
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 52
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 53
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 54
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 55
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 56
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 57
Underground Construction - June 2022 - 58
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover3
Underground Construction - June 2022 - Cover4
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