[LINK] Labor commits to $4.5b high-speed Internet network

Stewart Fist stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Mon Mar 26 09:41:01 AEST 2007

Kim proposes:
> I have been wondering what the best solution for the problem of
> constantly digging up the streets is.  I wonder why the councils
> don't put in ducts, big enough say for people to get in and to hold
> all the council services.  Some of the problems that I see are that
> having water and sewerage in the same duct may not be acceptable!
> Having water and electricity in the same duct may possibly present
> problems too!
> The council could own the ducts and control in that way what went in.

A few decades ago this was much discussed, but very little acted upon.

There was even a political movement which aimed to put a sort-of U-shaped
duct system under footpaths, to carry storm-water, pipes, wires etc. Then
all the authorities would need to do was to lift paving slabs to get access.

They all looked like being good ideas, but they all had problems.

1. They only saved money on greenfields developments, not where services
existed.  And they saved money for the service provider, while costing the
developers more.  So without government support or subsidy, no one wanted to
try them.  This is the problem with this sort of infrastrucure in times of

2. Not all services head in the same direction.  Water pipes might be laid
at right-angles to electrical feeds.

3. It didn't make sense to put electrical power together with copper
telephone wires (although it would be OK with fibre), and both were
in-harmonious with burst water-pipes, storm-water, sewerage, etc.
Electricity and gas was potentially a real problem, as was gas leaking into
any cavity rather than the ground.

4. The ducting provided long-distance transport channels and housing for
rats, mice, and maybe possums, etc.

5. Single-point of failure problems, from burst watermains, wash-aways, etc.

My guess, is that it is one of those ideas that is superficially attractive,
but not all that practical to the local authorities.  And it puts another
burden on them to organise, manage and budget.

Yet the cost of digging and redigging roads must be horrendous.  The council
is working on the road a few doors up, as I write - cutting through the road
looking for something (I suspect gas leak).

Stewart Fist, writer, journalist, film-maker
70 Middle Harbour Road, LINDFIELD, 2070, NSW, Australia
Ph +61 (2) 9416 7458

More information about the Link mailing list