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Author Topic: Fujitsu to roll out fibre internet to five million UK homes  (Read 3008 times)
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« on: April 19, 2011, 03:46:16 PM »

Fujitsu has announced its intention to rollout a fibre network to five million homes in rural Britain with download and upload speeds of up to 1Gbit/s in a move that could help to close the digital divide in the UK.

The firm said that it will invest between 1.5bn and 2bn over the next three to five years, around 500m of which will come from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund.

The network will be accessed on a wholesale level and ISPs Virgin Media and TalkTalk have already announced that they intend to use the network, which will be based on technology provided by Cisco.

Andy Stevenson, managing director of Fujitsu's networking division, told that the company developed the project after the government announced its commitment to broadband funding, and that it had already received backing from numerous quarters.

"We collaborated with Virgin and TalkTalk on the possibility of creating a superfast network after the government's announcement that it was ring fencing 830m for next-generation broadband projects," he said.

"We've undertaken a number of physical studies in the UK looking at the economic model of the rollout and, after talking to ministers and other players in the market, the case we are making seems to be compelling."

Stevenson explained that Fujitsu is still in the business evaluation stage of the project but that the network could be ready between 2012 and 2015.

Fujitsu intends to use existing infrastructure to provide access to remote areas after Ofcom announced its intention to force BT to provide access to its ducts and poles.

"Ofcom pushing to open up physical infrastructure access means that the right competitive environment is in place. As long as access is priced reasonably we will be able to offer 1Gbit/s from day one, way beyond what BT offers," Stevenson said.

The network will be future proofed to reach speeds of 10Gbit/s and faster over time, which Stevenson said will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the global race for faster broadband.

"In other nations around the world ISPs are offering gigabit speeds, and the UK needs to match this otherwise it will be back to upgrading in a few years in order to keep pace. With our infrastructure it will be covered for the next 20 or 30 years," he said.

Fujitsu has undertaken fibre rollouts in nations such as Japan and Saudi Arabia, and the rollout of another wholesale network in the UK provides the first alternative to BT's Openreach network, meaning that communities looking to fund rollouts through government grants will have a choice of providers.

Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, said that the announcement is "potentially very significant", and that a large-scale alternative to BT is exactly what the market needs, although he warned that some details around the project are hazy.

"There are alternative offerings that are individually OK, but very small scale. Five million households is an ambitious target and the basic idea is very good. Fujitsu and Cisco are both part of the mainstream fibre optic technology market," he said.

"I'd be interested to know the degree of collaboration they will have with Virgin Media and TalkTalk, as they both already have their own quite extensive networks."

Clodagh Murphy, director of business ISP Eclipse Internet, welcomed the news.

"With this investment leading to greater speeds, businesses in rural areas will be more efficient and will benefit from greater access to internet-based technologies," she said.

"This, in turn, will help them and their local economy."

Internet minister Ed Vaizey praised the companies involved for their commitment to the UK's internet infrastructure, and said that the rollout will bring benefits to citizens and workers in remote areas.

"The collaboration between these companies was exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the government wanted to stimulate by removing barriers to broadband rollouts," he said.

"Creating this superfast broadband network will help improve the economic and social prospects of the homes and businesses where high-speed internet access remains just a dream."

Providing high-speed access for those in rural and remote areas remains a key concern for the coalition government, which has launched various funding initiatives to help solve this issue.



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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 07:02:01 PM »

Sounds nice but I'll believe it when I see it. I think it's mainly a PR stunt.
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