Direct-buried cable

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Cross-section of direct buried cable

Direct-buried cable (DBC) is a kind of communications or transmissions cable which is especially designed to be buried under the ground without any kind of extra covering, sheathing, or piping to protect it.[1]

Most direct-buried cable is built to specific tolerances to heat, moisture, conductivity, and soil acidity. Unlike standard telecommunications and power cables, which have only a thin layer of insulation and a waterproof outer cover, DBC consists of multiple layers of heavy metallic-banded sheathing, reinforced by heavy rubber covers, shock absorbing gel, wrapped thread-fortified waterproof tape, and stiffened by a heavy metal core.

DBC is preferable in some areas since it is more resistant to being the focus of lightning discharges.[2]


Most cable of this kind is coaxial or bundled fiber-optic in nature. Direct-buried cable is cheaper and easier to lay than other kinds of cable that require protection from the earth.[1] However, DBC is also easily cut during digging or other excavations. As a result, most direct-buried cable is found on side roads, not main thoroughfares.[3]


Some power cabling is also direct-buried. This kind of cabling must follow strict regulatory procedures regarding installation [4] and backfilling. This is usually used for undergrounding in areas where overhead cabling is impractical or dangerous.

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  1. ^ a b Sterling, Donald J. (2000). Premises Cabling. Thomson Delmar Learning. ISBN 0-7668-1735-0. 
  2. ^ Rakov, Vladimir A.; Uman, Martin A. (2003). Lightning: physics and effects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58327-6. 
  3. ^ Highhouse, John (1997). A Guide for Telecommunications Cable Splicing. Thomson Delmar Learning. ISBN 0-8273-8066-6. 
  4. ^ Salata F., De Lieto Vollaro A., De Lieto Vollaro R. A model for the evaluation of heat loss from underground cables in non-uniform soil to optimize the system design. Thermal Science, DOI REFERENCE: 10.2298/TSCI120528119S