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ClearWorks Plans Fiber-to-the-Home

A Houston-based company said it will provide digital video,
high-speed Internet access and phone service over its own fiber optic networks linked
directly to newly built, custom-wired homes.

ClearWorks Technologies Inc. said that under a $36 million
contract with homebuilders that include Centex Homes and Pulte Homes, 1,200 new houses in
the Northpointe subdivision of Houston will be prewired with local-area-network and
video-network cable.

The trial is an outgrowth of ClearWorks'
systems-integration business, which generated $2 million in revenue last year by creating
similar networks for corporate accounts.

Although service providers are gradually pushing fiber
nodes closer to the home to support bandwidth-demanding applications, they generally
contend that running fiber directly to the home is not cost-effective.

ClearWorks CEO Michael McClere said that by using a
proprietary architecture -- details of which he would not disclose -- and by focusing on
homes clustered in subdivisions, the company realizes cost savings that are unavailable to
other service providers.

McClere said ClearWorks' infrastructure represents
less than 0.5 percent of the price of each home, which ranges from $100,000 to $300,000 in

The company -- which is registered as a competitive
local-access carrier, and which owns an Internet-service provider -- said its service area
is outside of the Houston city limits. Time Warner Cable holds the Houston franchise.

ClearWorks' services are facilities-based and
controlled at a network-operations center in Houston.

McClere said the company's equipment vendors included
Cisco Systems Inc. -- which is providing internetworking gear, routers and switches -- and
General Instrument Corp.

A service bundle priced at $100 will include 124 channels
of digital video, downlinked directly to ClearWorks from TVN Entertainment Corp.; Internet
access at two-way speeds of up to 110 megabits per second; local and long-distance phone
service; security monitoring; and a community Intranet.