Fibre optic cables fed through water pipes in UK broadband trial

Fibre optic cables
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Fibre optic cables will be fed through water pipes in a new UK Government broadband trial to connect more hard-to-reach homes

Fibre optic cables could be fed through water pipes as part of the UK government’s three-year plan to speed up the rollout of lightning-fast broadband and mobile coverage in rural areas.

£4 million is being made available for cutting-edge innovators to trial quicker and more cost-effective ways of connecting fibre optic cables to homes, businesses and mobile masts.


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.”

Digital communications

Stephen Unger, Commissioner at the Geospatial Commission, said:

“Fibre is the future of digital communications. Its unmatched performance and reliability can seamlessly connect our society together. But it took over a hundred years to build the legacy copper network, so replacing it with fibre won’t be easy.

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

The deadline for applications to the competition is 4th October and ‘The Fibre in Water’ project is due to conclude in March 2024.


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