The list also includes installing geothermal heating and cooling systems in an increasing number of government and residential buildings. These systems utilize the earth's constant temperature to regulate building temperature. "HDD equipment is being used to install the loops underground," says Savage. "More people are relying on geothermal systems because they are more efficient. And with the high cost of fuel, people are looking at alternatives to heat and cool their homes."
It's these diversified applications, coupled with a more stable economy and an increased use of HDD equipment in installing standard utilities (gas, water, electricity, phone), that are helping to stabilize the market.
"The current market is very healthy," Savage says. "There was a lot of fiber work done last year, and there's still fiber work going on this year. But the good thing is that there are a variety of different jobs, which keeps the industry healthy. Before the big slow down, it was mostly all fiber work, which gave a false sense of growth in the market. When people quit investing in fiber, there was a drastic slowdown. It looks like it will be more stabilized this time because the market is more diversified."