Long Beach Energy has installed a fiber-optic telecommunications network in a portion of its natural gas pipeline, joining its headquarters with the city's Temple Avenue and Willow Street facility.

"This is the first such installation in the world to become operational. The revolutionary fiber-optic cable installation process permits safe installation within the natural gas pipeline and avoids expensive trenching and other more intrusive conventional methods involved in installing fiber-optic telecommunications networks," said Chris Garner, director of Long Beach Energy.

The fiber-optics, linked to the City's microwave system, transmit and exchange data between the facilities. The installation used a fiber-in-gas (FIGsm) technology developed by Sempra Fiber Links, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy.

This type of fiber installation minimizes impact on the day-to-day lives of people working and living in cities because streets do not have to be trenched, nor does natural gas service have to be interrupted during the installation.

"This revolutionary concept is less costly and less disruptive than other methodologies. This pilot project could potentially lead to projects with all hospitals, schools, universities and large companies in Long Beach," said Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill.