Gigaclear, is investigating the feasibility of using disused water mains to house the cables needed to deliver its fibre-to-the-premises broadband services into or within rural environments.
Working in partnership with Affinity Water, the largest water-only supplier in the UK, Gigaclear is carrying out a pilot project on the utility company’s out of use pipes in an area of rural Hertfordshire, between the villages of Furneux Pelham and Little Hormead. The project aims to establish the overall feasibility of the concept and its scalability, as well as testing the technical aspects of how to install the fibres through the pipes.
Chris Harrison, Gigaclear’s Head of Design, comments: “On paper, the concept of using existing infrastructure to deliver the latest technology direct to people’s homes makes perfect sense. This feasibility study will help us understand if we can turn a great idea into reality.
“If it’s successful, it will bring significant benefits to our customers. Because Gigaclear is building completely new broadband networks, putting our fibres through the disused pipes would mean we don’t have to dig new trenches to lay cables – minimising the disruption to the rural communities in which we work. It would also speed up our build programme, particularly in areas where we would otherwise need to dig in or beside roads as the permitting and traffic management planning process to enable this can be mean lengthy delays in the implementation of the network.
“As an innovative company, it seems only right that we should consider innovative ways of delivering our technologically advanced product and this has the potential to do just that.”
Affinity Water Distribution Mains Lead, Tadas Buivydas commented: “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Gigaclear to help people who live in rural communities within our supply area get access to broadband services.”
With early results from the investigation work proving positive, both Gigaclear and Affinity Water are optimistic that disused pipes could be used in the construction of Gigaclear’s new networks in this region. It the final outcome of the trial proves successful it could mark the start of similar partnerships with other suppliers throughout the country.