August 9, 2021 at 1:42 pm #14639
In order to meet its full-fibre pledges, the UK government is examining the possibility of giving broadband firms access to more than a million kilometres of underground infrastructure owned by other utility firms: including electricity, gas, water, and sewerage networks.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS, aka the Department of Fun) has opened a call for evidence — closing on September 4, 2020 — that could inform a change in legislation allowing broadband networks to share infrastructure with other utility providers.
Dept of Fun minister Matt Warman said he is also open to changes in legislation that would improve the access of network providers to run cables along existing road and rail networks.
“It makes both economic and common sense for firms rolling out gigabit broadband to make use of the infrastructure that already exists across the country. This will help them avoid the high costs and disruption of having to dig or build their own and ultimately benefit consumers,” said Warman.
“We’ve seen progress with improved access to Openreach’s ducts and poles, but other telecoms companies have large networks that are not easily accessible. We want them, and utility companies, to do more to open these up and help speed up getting next-generation broadband to people across the UK,” he added.
One avenue of pursuit would see the Access to Infrastructure (ATI) Regulations 2016 reformed to facilitate better information-sharing between utility providers. It would not, however, mandate any commercial decisions on the behalf of the likes of OpenReach.
Openreach has set a target to deactivate the legacy copper network by the end of this decade, and has already started retiring copper sales in some areas. This effort — which has the support of Ofcom and central government — will inevitably cost billions.
Estimates from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) reckon that infrastructure re-use could make this vastly cheaper, producing an £8bn in cost savings for providers like OpenReach and Virgin Media. And that’s significant, considering civil works (namely deploying cables and poles) can account for 80 per cent of the overall cost.
Already, this effort to replace copper has caught pace, with Openreach yesterday announcing it had already wired up its first full-fibre metropolis: quaint cathedral city and noted Russian tourism fave, Salisbury. So far, over 20,000 premises in Salisbury have gigabit broadband, and Openreach intends to discontinue copper sales this year.
In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).August 9, 2021 at 1:45 pm #14640
UK launches £4m fund to run fibre optic cables through water pipes:
The government has launched a £4m fund to back projects trialling running fibre optic broadband cables through water pipes to help connect hard-to-reach homes without digging up roads.
The money will also be used to test out monitors in pipes that can help water companies identify and repair leaks more quickly. About a fifth of water put into public supply every day is lost via leaks and it is hoped that sensors could help deliver water companies’ commitment to reduce water loss by half.
Infrastruture 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, the government said.
The project is designed to help cut those costs, and is part of a plan to improve broadband and mobile signals in rural areas.
The 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 fund has been launched after the government in June kicked off a call for evidence on how more than a million kilometres of underground utility ducts could be used to boost the rollout of next-generation broadband.
A consortium, which could be made up of telecoms companies, utility providers and engineering companies, will be selected to deliver the project. Applications are due by 4 October and any proposal will require approval by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.
Electricity and gas companies, water and sewer networks and telecoms groups have until 4 September to respond to the consultation on changing regulations to make infrastructure sharing easier. Broadband cables have already been deployed in water pipes in other countries including Spain.
Although more than 96% of UK premises already have access to superfast broadband, providing download speeds of at least 24 Mbps, according to the government, just 12% of the UK has access to faster speeds via full-fibre broadband.
A report out last year suggested the government’s ambition to provide next-generation fibre broadband to every home by 2025 is likely to be missed, unless issues including pricing and concrete plans on reaching remote towns and villages are addressed. That ambition was a key promise of Boris Johnson’s election manifesto.
In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).August 29, 2021 at 6:42 pm #14956
Gov to Trial Running UK Fibre Broadband Lines via Water Mains:
The UK Government (DCMS) has today unveiled a new £4m ‘Fibre in Water‘ project trial, which will experiment with connecting homes, businesses and mobile masts to gigabit-capable broadband in “hard-to-reach areas” (e.g. remote rural) by running Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) style lines through the water mains.
The trial is partly related to last year’s review of the existing Access to Infrastructure (ATI) Regulations 2016 (here), which sought to foster ways in which existing electricity, gas, water and sewage networks could be harnessed via infrastructure sharing in order to improve the spread of “full fibre” connectivity (the government’s response to that is due “soon“).
In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).August 29, 2021 at 6:44 pm #14957
If they Trial Run Fibre Broadband Lines any where near my Gas mains feed line, I am going all electric (A.S.A.P)
In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).
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