& cplSiteName &

Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/21/2002
50%
50%

Ever think the last mile could end in your bathroom?

A small but determined group of companies say that stringing fiber through city sewers is the answer to high-speed access. And they're vying for contracts based on their methods of running cable where none (or, depending on your viewpoint, many) have gone before.

At least three companies, CableRunner North America LLC, Ca-botics Fiber Systems, and CityNet Telecommunications Inc., say they can do the best job of helping service providers, cities, utilities, and other interested parties plant fiber infrastructure while avoiding the disruption and high cost involved in pulling up the pavement.

CityNet, which started out billing itself as a service provider two years ago (see Startup to Pipe $275M Into Sewer), lists CableRunner as a business partner on its Website; and the two cofounded a sewer-fiber training center in Boca Raton.

CableRunner started as a subsidiary of the municipality of Vienna, Austria. Its main stock in trade is the technology it's used in various European projects, especially Vienna.

Ca-botics, like CableRunner, is predominantly a technology company, offering services based on its own brand of robotic sewer-boring hardware. CityNet has evaluated Ca-botics services, but nothing's come of it yet.

Despite past relationships and knowledge of each other's wares and services, shrinking budgets and higher stakes in the local access market have sharpened competitive edges among all three companies in recent months. Central to the argument is how best to run fiber cable through city sewers, clearly a specialty not mastered by many other firms.

For its part, CityNet claims to use a variety of approaches to getting the cable installed, although it relies mainly on a specialized robot called SAM (short for Sewer Access Module) that's made by Ka-Te System AG, a Zurich-based vendor. SAM puts rings into pipes, then runs conduit and cable via those rings. The advantage of SAM, CityNet says, is that SAM can enter sewers that can't be accessed by humans. Once it's installed the fiber, it can be used to maintain and troubleshoot the cable as well. SAM can be used in a range of irregularly shaped pipes measuring as small as eight inches.

Ca-botics contends its technique, called STAR (Sewer Telecommunication Access by Robot), is faster than ring-based approaches like CityNet's and can work in smaller pipes. STAR works by embedding small hooks or anchors into the pipe, then threading specially designed cable through the pipeline.

CableRunner's approach involves a combination of techniques, including a robot that installs cable in a kind of tray laid into the pipe [ed. note: what? no cutesy acronym? KACK, maybe? HAL?]. CableRunner says this approach is superior to rings or anchors because it doesn't damage the pipe wall in the same way the other techniques do.

It's a bit early to evaluate these claims. It may be more interesting to watch how the various companies unfold in the real world. So far, progress seems slow.

CityNet, which has an alliance with Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) to supply fiber and termination units for its sewer installations, has completed a network in Albuquerque and has projects underway in Indianapolis and in Seville, Spain.

CableRunner has several European sewer networks to its credit. It also won contracting rights in Egypt this year.

Ca-botics has installed sewer networks in Dublin, Ohio, and in several Canadian cities, including Mississauga, Ontario. It has a joint supply agreement with OFS, which offers specially sheathed wares for use in sewers as part of Ca-botics' solution.

Each of these companies appears to have many irons in the fire -- plans underway with slow-moving municipalities and public utilities commissions worldwide. And while none has managed to take the industry by storm-sewer, each vendor has proven its ability to forge partnerships as needed to get work done. It will be interesting to see whether their attempts to exist without each other result in a larger or smaller market.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com

(21)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Ca-botics
50%
50%
Ca-botics,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:40:41 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle


greenbit,


ca-botics at the present is the only company still standing and operating. ca-botics technology is now  capable of laying upto 2400 ft of fiber optic cables per day, in just an 8 hour shift.




Ca-botics
50%
50%
Ca-botics,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:40:40 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle


FYI, ca-botics is still in business and has had success in several countries in the last decade, and on going negotiations are presently in process for canadian cities.

cyber_techy
50%
50%
cyber_techy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:56 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
You guys should sponsor a bakeoff test between these 3 sewer bots. David Neuman could create an obstacle course of sorts, complete w/large deposits of dootie they need to navigate over, around or through!
================================================

Atleast LR testers won't have to worry about what they eat before coming to work that day. The more they eat, the more scalable testing they can do :-)
stuartb
50%
50%
stuartb,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:56 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
You guys should sponsor a bakeoff test between these 3 sewer bots. David Neuman could create an obstacle course of sorts, complete w/large deposits of dootie they need to navigate over, around or through!
beowulf888
50%
50%
beowulf888,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:55 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
I'm more worried about what the Roto-Rooter man will do my fiber link!

I assume that they'd pull the fiber out of the sewer pipe befor it gets to a subscriber's premises.

--Beo
thecornercube
50%
50%
thecornercube,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:51 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
I'd be worried about getting a crappy connection....:)
douggreen
50%
50%
douggreen,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:50 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
I did some consulting in this business and learned more about sewers than I care to admit. I suppose you could say that I got an earfull of sewage.

I don't understand the statement by CityNet that the rings can be installed in irregular pipe, unless they mean pipes that change size. The rings they use depend on contact friction with the sides of the pipes to hold them in place. If the pipes aren't round, the holding power will be compromised.

Someone asked about how the fiber gets into the building. Sometimes it just gets to the nearest manhole, then through a short drilled pipe. If they can get the robots into 4 inch pipes like CA-botics claims, they can run them right into the building and have the fiber exit in the cleanout opening....Or I guess you could run in right into your toilet if you like?

Regarding benchmarks, I would like to see LightReading ask each vendor to give some actual installation times that can be verified.

lightFleeting
50%
50%
lightFleeting,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:49 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
I asked CityNet this same question a couple of years ago. They have another device they send in to do the cleanout. So if it needs cleaning you call them. The next question would be if they go belly-up, who takes care of this stuff? The fiber is supported by a carrier that they insert into the pipe. Sending in a normal cleanout machine would really mess up everything.
fon_guy
50%
50%
fon_guy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:47 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
Fiber to the toilet gives new meaning to squatter's rights.
photon_mon
50%
50%
photon_mon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:18:42 PM
re: Sewer Robots Prepare for Battle
Last pile could prove to be a bottleneck.
And I worry about unwelcome access to my ring.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/20/2016
Eurobites: Be More European, EU Tells Streaming Services
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/20/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.