"It was a resounding success," I3 strategy director Andrew Lawson told iTWire. "It met all their requirements" and did not interfere with the sewers.
I3's parent company has already cabled Bournemouth and Dundee in the UK, and has completed projects in Abu Dhabi and South Africa, among others.
The idea of running cable though sewers fell out of favour in some circles after projects in Paris, London and New York failed. The problem there, Lawson said, was that the cable attachment to the roof lining failed. I3's technology uses a loose-laid cable at the bottom of the sewer. A specialised cable is used to withstand the hostile environment.
The approach also involves selecting sewers with an extremely low maintenance record, so there is little danger that the cable will lead to clogging, or that the cable would be damaged during cleaning (especially as high-pressure water jets are used these days in place of mechanical cleaning).
There's more to I3 than just running fibre through sewers - see page 2.
Atlantis is currently undergoing testing in the UK to UK, AUstralian and New Zealand standards. "The regulations are incredibly strict, said Lawson, adding that the company expects imminent approval, with deliveries beginning in the fourth quarter of 2010.
I3 also produces GPON splitter units.
So a typical installation by I3 would run fibre to an area through the most available conduit (possibly the sewers). From there, microtrenching would be used to service clusters of around 15 homes, taking the fibre into the building using Atlantis or in a loose dug trench.
"Using the sewer, the cost dynamics are incredible," he said, suggesting that the Brisbane trial cost just 25% of the next lowest quotation.
While aerial cabling is theoretically cheap, Lawson suggested this advantage can be lost if the electricity supplier decides the existing poles cannot cope with the extra load and requires the fibre network provider to carry the cost of replacing them.
Is i3 trying to compete with NBN Co? Please read on.
Lawson stressed that I3 is not trying to compete with the NBN. "THat would be a total nonsense," he said. Rather, the company sees NBN Co or its network planning or engineering contractors as potential customers. "We are talking to some of the major contractors," he said, but would not be more specific.
Footnote: In 2007, a Google April Fool joke described TISP, a low-cost fibre-optic broadband connection self-installed by flushing a cable down the toilet.