Water pipes could be used to bring broadband to hard-to-reach areas

Costs can be cut significantly by using existing infrastructure such as this.

The UK government has announced that they’re to put £4 million into a new trial which will see water pipes used to bring fibre-optic broadband to remote homes. 

The cost of installing new ducts, poles and the like could potentially make up as much as fourth-fifths of the cost of building a new broadband network, according to the UK government. 

So using a vast existing infrastructure such as this, which consists of more than a million kilometres of underground ducts, will help to cut such outgoings considerably.

A consortium, including telecoms companies, utility providers and engineering firms, will be selected to deliver this project sometime after applications close on 4th October.

There will also be a consultation on changing the regulations to make it easier for broadband providers to share such an infrastructure. 

Additionally, some of the government’s £4 million fund will be used to help boost mobile phone signal in these hard-to-reach areas and test out technology that could better help water companies find and repair leaks.

“The cost of digging up roads and land is the biggest obstacle telecoms companies face when connecting hard-to-reach areas to better broadband,"  said minister for digital infrastructure Matt Warman. "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.”

While more than 96% of UK premises currently have access to superfast broadband, with a download speed of at least 24Mbps, just 12% of these can currently receive a lightning-fast gigabit capable service. 

Source: The Guardian

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