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Albuquerque Sewers Not Just for Waste

Robotic-network builder CityNet Telecommunications Inc. said it has finished
construction of its inaugural last-mile broadband-access network through the
sewers of Albuquerque, N.M.

Completion of the roughly 4.2-route-mile network -- which took about four
months to build and brought fiber to 21 buildings averaging 120,000 square feet
-- marks a critical milestone in CityNet's strategy to exploit the lack of fiber
connectivity between densely populated urban areas and local metro-area fiber
networks.

CityNet chairman and CEO Robert Berger noted that by using its 'Sewer Access
Module' robots to run fiber, his company could bring broadband connectivity to
buildings about 60 percent faster than alternative methods, such as trenching
city streets and sidewalks to run laterals from the metro-area network to
individual MTUs (maximum transmission units).

At the same time, CityNet hopes local authorities adopt its method as their
preferred model not only because they avoid trenching costs and disruption, but
also because they get a 2.5 percent cut of CityNet's leasing revenue plus a
24-year deal for the company to clean whatever sewer lines it ends up using.

The company is initially putting a 144-strand fiber cable into one of three
conduits it lays during construction in the 8- to 10-inch sewer pipes, which
typically are not human-accessible.

'The installation technology was a real breakthrough and truly was
noninvasive to our sewer pipes,' Albuquerque director of public works Larry
Blair said at a teleconference Tuesday announcing completion of the network. 'We
didn't have to dig up our streets, which just drives people up the wall.'

CityNet also has deals with eight other major metro markets -- including
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Pittsburgh; and Vienna, Austria -- and it is currently
doing a build-out in Indianapolis.

Berger stressed that Silver Spring, Md.-based CityNet will remain a
platform-neutral carrier's carrier, providing its lines to incumbent
local-exchange carriers, cable-TV-system operators, interexchange carriers
wanting direct access to their customers and any other service providers that
want fiber access.

He noted that the technology might eventually be used to run fiber through
less densely populated residential areas, although CityNet is initially sticking
to the commercially oriented MTU sector.