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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

88,000 UK Homes Get 100 Mbps via Sewer-Line Broadband

By Sky News SkyNews - Thursday, May 8 12:20 pm

It's a common sight - streets ripped up so companies can lay cable. But now sewage pipes are being enlisted to bring broadband to businesses and homes without digging up the road.

Putting fibre optic cable into sewer pipes is faster and cheaper than digging up the road to lay cable, according to the company behind the plans, H2O Networks.

Photo credit: H20 Networks

Bournemouth has become the first town in the UK to get super-fast internet connections - via the sewerage system

More than 88,000 homes and businesses in the Dorset town will benefit from internet speeds up to 100Mbps under the scheme, considerably faster than consumer broadband speeds on the market.

Fibre firm H2O Networks Ltd is funding the £30m project.

It will lay its special cables through the sewerage system over the next six months.

H2O has been offering the underground network to businesses and universities around the UK for several years and plans to create a nationwide network for consumers over the next few years.

It is also cheaper and more environmentally-friendly to use the UK's 360,000 miles of sewers rather than dig up roads to deploy the fibre.

Elfed Thomas, CEO of H2O Networks, added: "This is just the start of bringing next generation connectivity to the UK."

He added: "Many households and broadband customers in the UK have insufficient connectivity bandwidths because they are attached to legacy networks deployed in the 20th Century that just can't cope with demand."

There are fears that the UK is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband speeds, with three operators in France offering speeds of between 50 and 100Mbps.

Faster broadband makes possible services such as on-demand high definition TV, quality DVD downloads in minutes, online video messaging, CCTV home surveillance and HD gaming.