ROBOT: Robots in sewers could get Britain online

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 08:46:02 MST

A scheme to run fibres down sewer pipes could uncork the last-mile bottleneck
that is holding back online business in Britain

A company that plans to solve the last-mile problem by wiring the sewers of
major cities is hoping to install fibre beneath a major UK city soon. "We hope
to have permission by the end of December," said Larry Berent, president of
Citynet International, though he would not say in which city.

While there is no shortage of international and long distance bandwidth, so
called "metro" networks are currently the bottleneck for service providers.
Linking two cities is easy, but most of the cost of any data service is taken
up by the "tails" which link to the user sites. These are expensive because of
the cost and disruption of digging up roads and installing fibre in cities.

CityNet's answer is to use a wheeled robot to pull fibres along existing
underground pipes -- the sewer network. The process includes a thorough
clean-up of the pipework, and the fibres are held in place by expanding
collars which actually strengthen the sewer pipe. In most cases, the company
hopes to get rights to wire the sewers in exchange for a promise to maintain
the pipes -- a win-win situation for city councils faced with spiralling
maintenance bills for ageing sewer pipes.

Full Text:,,t269-s2100583,00.html

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Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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