5G, big data and sensor technology: any self-respecting metropolis wants to be ready for the future. Project manager Arie-Jan Korevaar: “In order to achieve the ambition of the smart city , Rotterdam approached the market with the desire to expand its existing network to a full-coverage own network.” Eurofiber and VolkerWessels Telecom were chosen to build “a fine-meshed, high-quality dark fibre network” in Rotterdam.
The task is formidable. Project leader Bert Mulder: “To give an impression of its scope: the heart of the infrastructure consists of two new data centres and seven main locations. For us, this means 240 project locations, 50 kilometres of new trench and 7 kilometres of directional drilling. From Coolsingel and Lijnbaan in the heart of the city to Hoek van Holland, Vlaardingen and Schiedam. In total, we’re connecting some 240 municipal services. From municipal buildings and urban shops in the neighbourhoods to educational institutions and traffic control systems.”
Although some 70% of the project was completed in 2018, it will continue for a while in 2019. “In addition to the other 30% of the work, Eurofiber was asked to connect 175 locations with traffic control systems to the network,” says Arie-Jan and Bert. That means making progress in Rotterdam. Every day, five excavation teams, three blowing teams and five welding teams go out to continue replacing copper with fibre optics. “In addition to Selecta Infratechniek for the civil engineering, we also work with Van de Beek for directional drilling and Tripticom for welding, assembly and blowing. Apart from coordinating work together, this also requires a clear approach to environmental management,” Bert stresses. “Think permits, temporary traffic measures and coordination with the municipality, residents and other stakeholders.”
The hullabaloo in the heart of the city in particular presents operational and logistical challenges. Just think of the large-scale reconstruction of Coolsingel. Arie-Jan: “Even if you have a licence, you’re still reliant on road authorities and municipal wardens. You often work in the city centre but on one street, which always has to be closed immediately.” Team spirit is crucial in Rotterdam. Bert: “With our partners, but also in the unique collaboration with Eurofiber and the municipality. By joining the municipality with Eurofiber, we can switch immediately and anticipate. We’ve seen that the municipality really appreciates this.” Arie-Jan nods, satisfied, and says: “The same goes for Eurofiber. For our client, it’s a textbook example of what cooperation with partners should look like in practice.”