By Deirdre Tynan • 09 August 2021 • 15:37
Photo of a kitchen tap running water.
Broadband rollout trial to target hard-to-reach homes through UK’s water pipes will see fibre optic cables fed through water mains to connect homes, businesses and mobile masts without digging up roads
Fibre broadband cables could be fed through the country’s water pipes as part of the government’s plan to speed up the nationwide roll out of lightning-fast broadband and mobile coverage in rural areas, the British government said on August 9.
Four million pounds is available for cutting-edge innovators to trial what could be a quicker and more cost-effective way of connecting fibre optic cables to homes, businesses and mobile masts, without the disruption caused by digging up roads and land.
Civil works, in particular installing new ducts and poles, can make up as much as four fifths of the costs to industry of building new gigabit-capable broadband networks.
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.”
The project will also look to test solutions that reduce the amount of water lost every day due to leaks, which is 20 per cent of the total put into the public supply.
It will involve putting connected sensors in the pipes which allow water companies to improve the speed and accuracy with which they can identify a leak and repair it. Water companies have committed to delivering a 50 per cent reduction in leakage, and the project can help to reach that goal, the government said.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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