Integrated Telecommunications Network Ltd, the only local private telecommunications operator in Novgorod, has announced that the first 1,000 customers will get its new digital telephone service next July. The company has already built the cable television and computer portions of the network, having girdled the whole city with the basic fibre optic backbone upon which the entire system is based. The cable television section now serves the majority of Novgorod residents, transmitting from its central studio a mix of its own programmes and foreign broadcasts picked up from a satellite antenna. In December of 1992, the first section of the computer network, binding four different locations in the city was completed. Last summer, 10 local offices of Sberbank (Saving Bank) went on line, giving them the opportunity to interchange data at 16Mbps. Integrated Telecommunications Network plans eventually to use the network to enable point of sale terminals to be installed in the city’s shops to facilitate cashless transactions. The digital equipment for the telephone portion has already been purchased and will be installed soon. The major feature of the network is that the fibre runs to-the-kerb (hubs located on each street) which is uncommon even in the West where the fibre usually stops at the local telephone exchange. The first three portions of the network were built in conjunction with the Perspective Technologies Agency, a Moscow-based system integrator, which is currently pulling off similar projects in Moscow and Podolsk. According to Sergey Petrov, Director of Integrated Telecommunications Network, the telephone portion is being built by the firm itself as an experiment for none of other Russian cities, not even Moscow nor St Petersburg, have such networks.