Microtrenching Technology Helps Slice Through Challenging Fiber Jobs

As the great fiber build-out continues, municipalities across the country are taking advantage of increased connectivity to invest in a growing technology sector. Some of today’s most innovative startups and companies are not located in Silicon Valley. Instead, areas like Austin, Texas, have become a hub for the technology industry. To keep up with these demands, the need for high-speed, fiber-optic cable has amplified dramatically.

Corbel Communications Industries is located at the epicenter of this Texas fiber revolution.
With an office in Austin, Corbel has installed more than 2 million feet of fiber-optic cable in the area during the past eight years. Over the years, the company has realized utility installation in Austin can be difficult for traditional horizontal directional drills (HDDs) due to a variety of geographical conditions. These challenges have resulted in Corbel relying on a fleet of Ditch Witch microtrenching equipment to get their fiber jobs done cost effectively and efficiently.

“In a tough geographical area like Austin, more traditional utility installation methods like HDDs are not a viable method. That’s why we’ve turned to microtrenching,” said Daniel Urban, vice president of outside plant at Corbel. Microtrenching allows Urban and his team to install utilities faster than other methods while resulting in minimal disruption, particularly effective in compact urban areas like Austin.

The company uses Ditch Witch RT80 ride-on trenchers with MT12 and MT16 micotrenching systems to productively complete fiber jobs. The team also uses a Ditch Witch FX65 vacuum excavator to safely and effectively remove fluids during the microtrenching process. “I have worked with Ditch Witch equipment for several years both here at Corbel and in other capacities, and it has taken our work to the next level,” mentioned Urban.

For Corbel, their microtrenching equipment allows the company to conquer a variety of challenging jobsite conditions. For example, one Corbel client encountered difficult terrain as they were trying to install fiber using a traditional HDD in solid, hard rock. Corbel operators visited the site and decided microtrenching would be the ideal option. With their equipment, Corbel easily installed the utility and got the job done on time.

Urban and his team have also seen significant cost savings and increased ROI with Ditch Witch microtrenching solutions. The durable, maintenance-free blade design results in blades lasting up to 20 times longer than standard blades in certain jobsite conditions. “Five years ago, standard blades cost roughly $5 per foot. Our current, innovative Ditch Witch blades are about $1 per foot, a significant cost savings that helps us get jobs done on or under budget,” added Urban.

In addition to microtrenching equipment, Corbel utilizes the Ditch Witch SK850 mini skid steers and a variety of the machine’s attachment options to help on microtrenching jobs. As a part of the Ditch Witch full microtrenching solution, the SK850 helps Corbel control spoils on each jobsite once their FX65 vacuum excavator is full, allowing them to keep working, reducing project downtime.

At the heart of their success with Ditch Witch equipment is Corbel’s partnership with their local dealer, Ditch Witch of Central Texas. “We have an excellent partnership. We have received unprecedented support and service, and I cannot speak highly enough about the team we work with at Ditch Witch,” said Urban.

For more information about Ditch Witch microtrenching equipment solutions, visit https://www.ditchwitch.com/.

Used for construction and demolition, our breakers can be used to break up asphalt, concrete or even clay. The hydraulic hammer is perfect for any small or medium job you might have. More up-time in the field is always the goal, and with only two moving parts and a few seals, there’s no reason for down-time.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750


Best suited for irrigation and fiber installation, the Rock Saw attachment can effortlessly cut through rock, concrete, and other tough materials with unmatched precision. 

Compatible Models

SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

Easily move materials for rebuilds, new construction, footings, utility repairs and more with this compact and versatile attachment.
Compatible Models

SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750