Sempra Fiber Links, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), announced the first installation of its proprietary technology that allows fiber-optic cable in live natural gas distribution lines. The new fiber line has been installed in a portion of the service territory of Frontier Energy, a natural gas distribution utility in North Carolina. The newly installed fiber-optic line covers about a one-mile span and serves as a showcase site for interested parties to view the fiber conduit in live gas lines.
Sempra Fiber Links has invented a patent-pending process to place fiber-optic cables into the existing infrastructure of natural gas pipelines. It recently began marketing the process to gas utility companies across North America. Frontier Energy, which is also a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, apparently is the first natural gas distribution company to use the fiber-in-gas technology.
Greg Pittillo, vice president and general manager of Frontier Energy, said, �The process that Sempra Fiber Links has invented is compatible with standard processes for gas distribution companies all over the world. We've seen that it's safe and that it takes little time to install."
Sempra Fiber Links completed the installation with several North American gas company executives in attendance to witness the process. Members of the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission also attended to attest to the safety of the technology.
The fiber-in-gas process does not require street trenching in the manner of traditional laying of fiber and for that reason it is quicker and costs less to install, and is less disruptive to traffic and urban-planning schemes.
The company is working with gas companies now and expects to be ready to offer service throughout North America beginning in December 2001. According to Michael Allman, president of Sempra Communications, Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy subsidiary, approved the use of the proprietary fiber-in-gas technology and plans to install it as soon as it receives approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.
About Frontier Energy:
Frontier Energy serves 150,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina.
About Sempra Fiber Links:
Sempra Fiber Links builds fiber-optic networks for telecommunications companies by utilizing the distribution infrastructure of natural gas utilities.