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Broadband is set to be pumped into homes through the WATER pipes

World wide wet! Broadband is set to be pumped into homes through the WATER pipes to gain access to remote properties

  • Cables for high-speed broadband are to set to be run through water pipes
  • Project called Fibre in Water to speed up expansion of ‘lightning-fast broadband’ 
  • Is hoped could be cheaper and quicker way to get fibre-optic cables into homes

Put that in your pipe and download it – cables for high-speed broadband are to set to be run through water pipes to connect hard-to-reach homes, ministers have revealed.

They are looking at a project called Fibre in Water to speed up the expansion of ‘lightning-fast broadband’ and mobile coverage in rural areas.

Innovators are being offering £4million to test the method, which it is hoped could be a cheaper and quicker way to get fibre-optic cables into homes, businesses and mobile masts.

The plan for gigabit-capable broadband has the benefit of avoiding the disruption of digging up roads and land for cables.

Cables for high-speed broadband are to set to be run through water pipes to connect hard-to-reach homes in the UK. (Stock image)

As much as 80 per cent of the industry costs of building new broadband and networks can be taken up with paying for ‘civil works’ such as installing ducts and poles, say officials.

It is hoped this scheme could ‘turbocharge’ a £5billion plan to level-up broadband access in areas which are hard to reach. 

The project is set to conclude in March 2024, with the final year examining if any solutions could be used throughout the country.

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, clean water but also lightning-fast digital connectivity.’

In addition, the project will look at trying to reduce the amount of water lost to leaks, currently about 20 per cent of what goes into the public supply.

It is hoped the scheme could be a cheaper and quicker way to get fibre-optic cables into homes, businesses and mobile masts. (Stock image)

It is hoped the scheme could be a cheaper and quicker way to get fibre-optic cables into homes, businesses and mobile masts. (Stock image)

Sensors will be put into pipes, enabling water companies to deal more rapidly and accurately with leaks. 

The Government is already looking at helping the push for ‘next-generation broadband’ by letting telecoms companies access one million-plus miles of underground utility ducts, such as electricity, gas and sewer networks. 

Stephen Unger, commissioner at the Geospatial Commission, an expert group which is part of the Cabinet Office, welcomed the Fibre in Water project.

‘The best way to meet this challenge is to use existing infrastructure, such as the water pipes that already reach every home and business in the country,’ he said.

‘Our ambition must be for reliable broadband to become as easy to access tomorrow as drinking water is today.’ 

Any testing of feeding cables into pipes has to be approved by the Drinking Water Inspectorate before being used.

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