ATLANTA … U.S. RealTel (OTCBB: USRT), a national broadband services holding company operating primarily through its wholly owned subsidiary Cypress Communications, reported losing $1.1 million, or 20 cents a share, on $22 million in revenue during the first quarter. Those results compare to a $409,000 profit, or 7 cents a share, on $23 million in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2002.

The previous quarter’s numbers include one-time gains of about $425,000 related to the acquisition of Cypress and the elimination of debt.

“Today, our business is very closely tied to trends in the commercial real estate industry and the leasing activity in our ‘lit’ buildings,” Chief Executive Charles B. McNamee said in a statement.

Commercial real estate occupancy rates continued to decline in the first quarter, and are on average 3 percent lower year over year. According to recent studies, the national average occupancy rate is 85 percent, and in many of Cypress’ markets in service, the average occupancy rate is as low as 78 percent.

In the first quarter, U.S. RealTel took steps to reduce its exposure to declining occupancy rates by implementing new technologies that will allow Cypress to offer its premium, bundled communications services to businesses located outside of its portfolio of buildings in service, thereby increasing the company’s addressable market dramatically.

U.S. RealTel: