Fast broadband goes underground

While politicians and network providers work out how they can afford to provide the UK with a network capable of delivering super-fast broadband speeds, one company is already doing it - via the sewers. H20 networks has been in negotiations with water firms for the last five years and began rolling out its fibre-via-sewers network - known as Focus (Fibre Optical Cable Underground Sewer) in 2003.

Universities in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Bournemouth are enjoying high-speed fibre connections with speeds of up to 20Gbps (gigabits per second), while council offices around the UK are also benefiting from super-fast broadband. Next month it plans to move to a new phase of its roll-out which could see it provide fibre networks to businesses and consumers around the UK.

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42 Comments

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mmmm i can just imagine that lovely new fiber optic network using that sparkly new network compression algarithym and you could all say hello to a big fat 100Mbps connects

Blame BT and their ****ing useless 100 year old technology. I'm just sick and tired of the UK always being behind on Broadband connection speeds, come on guys for god sake lets lay some fiber optic cable (preferably in Essex ) so I can get rid of this ****ty 1Mb connection.

Bobster said,
Blame BT and their ****ing useless 100 year old technology. I'm just sick and tired of the UK always being behind on Broadband connection speeds, come on guys for god sake lets lay some fiber optic cable (preferably in Essex ) so I can get rid of this ****ty 1Mb connection.

But in all these countries rolling out fibre, study after study shows they don't get great throughput ... Sweden advertise 50mpbs service, but despite fibre not dropping in quality due to length like ADSL, surveys show they get about 4.6mpbs ... Britain get 3.8mbps.

So while its true we are behind, fibre really hasn't taken the world by storm and improved things that much - the networks behind the fibre probably won't be up to scratch and then there is the problem of websites and wether they can transfer quickly enough.

SimpleRules said,

But in all these countries rolling out fibre, study after study shows they don't get great throughput ... Sweden advertise 50mpbs service, but despite fibre not dropping in quality due to length like ADSL, surveys show they get about 4.6mpbs ... Britain get 3.8mbps.

So while its true we are behind, fibre really hasn't taken the world by storm and improved things that much - the networks behind the fibre probably won't be up to scratch and then there is the problem of websites and wether they can transfer quickly enough.

I know a couple of sweedish people (Place I work for has a sweedish office and they're always flying them over for meetings and such) and they've ALL said that Sweeden's internet speeds are much, much faster than the speeds here. They've all went so far as to say that the business grade connection we use in work (not sure on the speed but it's pretty fast) is waaay slower than their home connections.

Kushan said,

I know a couple of sweedish people (Place I work for has a sweedish office and they're always flying them over for meetings and such) and they've ALL said that Sweeden's internet speeds are much, much faster than the speeds here. They've all went so far as to say that the business grade connection we use in work (not sure on the speed but it's pretty fast) is waaay slower than their home connections.

I don't usually do this, because it can offend people that are Dyslexic, but you have spelt Sweden, and Swedish wrong threee :P times. I'm just pointing it out, because you obviously believe it is spelt how you have typed it, which is wrong.

You don't actually get 20GBs per/s because thats the "capacity" of the line itself. The amount of data you get depends on the amount of people on a line... and then the more you pay the "bigger batch" of the line your promised under high demand. Meaning if an atomic bomb is deployed in a country and the whole world is awake on the net watching the news, you'd have more availability to the net than those that pay the dirt cheap prices.


I won't be surprised if they have problems in the future. They're putting electrical cables in water; what happens if it springs a leak?

Tikitiki said,
I won't be surprised if they have problems in the future. They're putting electrical cables in water; what happens if it springs a leak?

Erm, I'm a bit confused here... What electrical cable is in water? It's 'Fiber Optic' cable last I knew... Which by definition is an optical cable. Non-powered.

Also, if you're concerned about that, imagine the trans-atlantic fiber-optic cables. Those have a positive charged power wire and have been working fine for the years they've been around so far... So the tech is there... And proven.

Imagine the advertising slogans you could have:

"Join our network, our bandwidth speeds are the ****! LITERALLY!"

well I'll believe it when I see it, and from what I remember about polititions (lets take cameron the lying turnip with crap flying out his mouth at a whopping 263MPH!) this will never happen

Lt-DavidW said,
What do politicians or politics have to do with this article? The technology is already being used!

"Next month it plans to move to a new phase of its roll-out which could see it provide fibre networks to businesses and consumers around the UK."
who actually believes that... Prices would start at £360,000 / month or something rediculously high that not even banks could afford

n_K said,

"Next month it plans to move to a new phase of its roll-out which could see it provide fibre networks to businesses and consumers around the UK."
who actually believes that... Prices would start at £360,000 / month or something rediculously high that not even banks could afford

Of course, and in the case of Australia when the take of it is slow to non-existent they'll use the same bullcrap excuse of 'oh, well, its because there isn't enough content to justify the speed'.

Damn, I wish some one grabbed these idiots by the knackers and make them realised the average joe and jane do no live on £1,000,000 per year - not including bonus's.

fergiej said,
Gives a whole new meaning to flushing your DNS cache. :suspicious:

I hope they won't water down the bandwidth....

Man, you guys are gonna smell now! ;)

"Darling, can I flush now?"

"Hold on honey, I am finishing up a post on Neowin!"

Thats the problem with the UK, politicians getting involved.

That means a big spanner in the works.

Whilst the sewers are being used to pioneer super fast network speeds, any chance of anyone rebuilding those old
Victorian sewers, the broken water pipes and locking away all politicians down there!

i was at aberdeen uni until last year and i didnt ntice any 20gbps speeds. shocking. i always miss out on the fun

Enigma776 said,
Sucks to be you then as i pay £18 for 20mb from virgin.

you pay but you do not recieve. If you got 20Mbps download, you would be breaking all possible laws of physics

n_K said,

you pay but you do not recieve. If you got 20Mbps download, you would be breaking all possible laws of physics

May I ask how?

coolkat007 said,
WTH?? am I in UK?? virgin provides broadband at 2Mbps for 18 pounds

Your being ripped off mate, i pay 19.50 for 2mb broadband, phone, and televison.

Enigma776 said,
Sucks to be you then as i pay £18 for 20mb from virgin.

That can't be right. I'm paying £36 a month for the 20MB service. And no way is it 20MB! The fastest download speed I ever got was about 2.5MB/s.

MightyJordan said,

That can't be right. I'm paying £36 a month for the 20MB service. And no way is it 20MB! The fastest download speed I ever got was about 2.5MB/s.

2.5MB/s IS around the maximum it will go so you are getting a 20Mb connection. Usually ISP's advertise in Mbps. Mb is a megabit. MB is a megabyte. 20Mb/ps = 2.5 MB/ps.

As for Enigma paying £18 for 20mb is probably because he called threatening to cancel and they cut his bill and he'd prefer to be obnoxious about it rather than say how. I've done the same and so have a few others on the forum, they will most likely cut your bill by quite a bit.

Brodel said,

2.5MB/s IS around the maximum it will go so you are getting a 20Mb connection. Usually ISP's advertise in Mbps. Mb is a megabit. MB is a megabyte. 20Mb/ps = 2.5 MB/ps.

As for Enigma paying £18 for 20mb is probably because he called threatening to cancel and they cut his bill and he'd prefer to be obnoxious about it rather than say how. I've done the same and so have a few others on the forum, they will most likely cut your bill by quite a bit.

Thinking of trying that myself, just not the same since it got took over. We pay £40+ per month for the fastest broadband and basic cable package (you can tell we prefer Internet to TV in our house). Seem to have had many troubles lately :disappointed: I didn't know we now had an AUP.

Lol at the flush DNS it sure would be awkward "logging on" whilst someone is "logging off" eew. The mind "bog"gles.

What's the point of such a fast pipe?

With all of the ridiculously low limits on bandwidth, your quota would be used up in hours.