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  • by Karma Loveday

Government pursues use of water mains to deliver rural broadband

The Government has launched a three-year, £4m competition to trial the delivery of advanced broadband and mobile services in rural areas via drinking water mains.

Consortia of two or more companies, which could comprise telcos and water companies as well as others, have been invited to bid by 4 October to be selected to lead and deliver the project. As part of this, a region or multiple regions of the country will be selected to host the trial

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is running the competition using HM Treasury’s Shared Outcomes Fund and with support from Defra, BEIS and Cabinet Office, said using water mains could be a quicker and more cost effective way of connecting fibre optic cables to homes and businesses and without roadworks disruption.

In tandem, the Government said the project will look to test solutions to reduce leakage using sensors.

The Fibre in Water project is due to conclude in March 2024. The final year of the project will explore scaling proven solutions right across the country. The Government said any solution used to trial fibre optic cables in water mains will be approved by the Drinking Water Inspectorate before being used in a real world setting.


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