Fibre optic cables to be fed through water pipes
Fibre optic broadband cables could be distributed faster and more widely throughout the UK by utilising the nation’s water pipe infrastructure.
The government has launched a £4 million competition, dubbed the Fibre in Water project, for “innovators” to design and trial a quicker and more cost-effective way of connecting homes to fibre optic cables without the disruption caused by digging up roads and land.
The government is already considering giving broadband firms access to more than a million kilometres of underground utility ducts to boost the rollout of next-generation broadband – including electricity, gas and sewer networks – and will soon respond to a consultation on changing regulations to make infrastructure sharing easier.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “The cost of digging up roads and land is the biggest obstacle telecoms companies face when connecting hard-to-reach areas to better broadband, but beneath our feet there is a vast network of pipes reaching virtually every building in the country.
“So we are calling on Britain’s brilliant innovators to help us use this infrastructure to serve a dual purpose of serving up not just fresh and clean water but also lightning-fast digital connectivity.”