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Ultra fast broadband speeds in the pipeline

24 January 2008 / by Verity G
Broadband customers may soon be able to get ultra-fast broadband connections through the network of UK sewers – a system that is already in use in Paris and parts of Japan.

H2O Networks, based in North Wales, has set out proposals which aim to connect UK consumers with broadband of up to 100MB a second over the next few years through an innovative new system that lays cables throughout the sewer system.

The new business start-up says it can connect people who live in Dundee, Northampton and Bournemouth over the next two years with a further ten to 15 cities to follow within five years.

The report follows news that Britain risks being left behind in the race for super-fast broadband, unless regulators and telecoms companies come to some agreement on upgrades.

Minister for competitiveness, Stephen Timms last year announced that the UK is likely to be left behind other nations such as the technological forerunners Japan and even our European counterparts unless significant improvements are made.

Following a meeting in November, Timms issued a challenge to broadband providers, consumer groups and Government agencies to take inspiration from other countries such as Japan, South Korea, the US, Germany and France, all of which have ambitious plans for ultra-fast broadband speeds, unlike the UK.

The increasing use of music and film downloads, podcasts and the impending arrival of internet TV means that the UK broadband system is under increasing strain. Now the new proposals from H2O Networks could provide a cost-effective way of achieving a speedy service to avoid an impending blockage in the UK broadband market.

However broadband suppliers are arguing that the cost of laying new cables will cost as much as £15 billion. However, the UK currently has 360,000 miles of sewers and H2O Networks' solution could cut costs to around £15 million.

Furthermore, the fibre-optic cable network would allow minimum broadband speeds of 100 megabits a second – currently the average top speeds are around 24MB.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd