Fiji's First HDD Machine

Digicel to use Fiji’s first horizontal drilling machine for fibre layout

Suva, Fiji – Friday, 16th September 2022
A group of Digicel staff standing next to a horizontal drilling machine

In a move that is set to benefit environment impact, property, and infrastructure damage, Digicel will use a horizontal directional drilling machine for its fibre rollout project in Suva, a first for Fiji.

The brand new HDD machine has been acquired by Fibre Network Engineering which is an Australian company based in Suva whom Digicel has contracted for the project.

Digicel Fiji CEO, Farid Mohammed said that this machine will be used for the installation of underground fibre which the company is set roll out in the coming weeks in Suva. This is part of Digicel’s LTE network upgrade and capacity expansion program that will see improvement in data speed and coverage.

“I am delighted that for the first time Digicel will be rolling out its own fibre network in Suva and using the HDD machine which is one of its kind.”

“The acquisition of the machine by our partners FNE will add great value to the company’s innovative techniques and enable Digicel significantly in executing underground fibre laying to boost the network in a shorter timeframe and without causing property damage,” added Farid.

FNE Communications Managing Director, Greg Ingram, said; “The arrival of the machine is a very exciting opportunity for both Digicel and the Fijian economy at large. There will be increasing opportunities for local Fijians to learn a brand-new skill set of underground directional drilling at Fibre Network Engineering, a skill that until now, was limited. Our increasing project volume for Digicel’s new network will create many opportunities for employment at FNE in a variety of telecommunication roles, not just in Suva, but all over Fiji.”

“Using new and superior methods of installing conduit, means better-quality infrastructure of Digicel’s new fibre network. The HDD machine will be instrumental in fast-tracking Digicel’s new infrastructure and LTE Network, bringing faster speeds to more people,” added Greg.

HDD is a less impactful method to install underground cables and fibre rather than digging an open trench with large labour crews to bury them. The use of this method greatly reduces disruption to roadways and other existing infrastructure during construction. This will reduce the deployment time of traditional trenching methods from a year down to three months.

The HDD machine has been upgraded to include a fully enclosed air-conditioned cabin for the operator.

This is the first HDD machine to land in Fiji that can drill through dirt and rock.

The HDD machine is set to start work soon with the first phase to see 7 kilometres of fibre deployment between the Digicel Khalsa data center to the landing station in FINTEL. The next phase of fibre network deployment will stretch around the Suva city area covering some 18 kilometres.