Fiber-Through-the-Sewer Hits US


U.S. Sewer cover

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LAS VEGAS — The American arm of a British firm known for deploying local loop fiber through sewers has high expectations for its chances in the US market, based on the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-inspired boom in municipal fiber projects. (See Google Jumps Into Gigabit FTTH.)

The company is i3 America , and it has stepped up as a platinum sponsor of the FTTH Council Conference here only weeks after announcing the first US pilot — in Quincy, Ill. — of its Fibrecity open access network.

Because the system is deployed in sewer systems, partnerships with municipalities and municipally owned utilities are natural for i3, which will build and operate the local loop fiber network for its partners on an open access basis, says Alasdair Rettie, technical director of i3 Group Ltd., the parent company to i3 America. The parties then either work out a revenue-sharing deal or enable the municipality to use the network for its own purposes, including providing fiber connections to schools, video security monitoring, traffic management, public safety, and/or subsidized connections into homes of low-income residents.

By using waste-water ducts to deploy fiber, i3 claims to trim 30 percent to 50 percent off the cost of deploying FTTH — but no, the service doesn’t come up through the toilet into the home, in case your mind was wandering there.

The Fibrecity network is an open-access system, based on FTTH optoelectronics from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Enablence Technologies Inc. (Toronto: ENA), that uses i3′s patented approach to running fiber through sewers or other existing duct work to a place very near the home, where the fiber is then micro-trenched to an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) that has four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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