Uganda telecom has introduced earth rockets to be used in the laying of fibre optic lines, as opposed to digging across roads and along pavements.

With the earth rockets, a simple hole is dug in an area and a rocket inserted up to a certain depth. Afterwards, it is shot off horizontally for a prescribed distance, usually a maximum of 50 metres. The hole it creates is where the cables are laid.

Kurt Lepenies of Uganda telecom said they opted for this system because digging everywhere damages roads which are very costly to repair. "We do not want men digging all over the roads because it affects traffic flow. We also won't pay anything to the city council," Lepenies said in an interview on Tuesday.

"This is German technology and the first of its kind in Uganda. It is 95% accurate and can crack rocks. We intend to use it more when laying fibre optics to buildings," he said. Uganda telecom has a fibre optic ring in Kampala, but the project at hand is to lay fibre optic cables to large buildings.

Lepenies said before they shoot, they sign contracts with other companies which have property underground, like National Water and the power firm so that they can locate their cables to minimise damage.

New Vision