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Fujitsu to bring fiber optic network to rural UK

By Donna Donowitz
April 14, 2011
In recent years, high-speed connectivity has moved from the realm of luxury to become an critical tool for many professionals.

High-speed fiber optic networks enable robust and efficient communication and collaboration between workers, between offices and between companies. It is also becoming increasingly important for individual users, whether for telework purposes, to conduct business or simply to utilize the latest services offered over the internet.

To this end, global technology and communications company Fujitsu recently announced plans to construct a fiber optic network that will deliver high-speed internet services to millions of homes in rural Britain.

The new fiber optic network is being created in conjunction with a number of partners, including Cisco, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. According to Fujitsu, Cisco's technology will be utilized in the network's infrastructure, while Virgin Media and TalkTalk will be given wholesale access to the network in order to provide "next generation" services to users.

British communication minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the new initiative. According to Vaizey, "superfast broadband is already helping businesses grow and improving the lives of those able to access it." The problem, Vaizey said, is that "many rural and hard to reach areas are missing out."

The minister stated that "the whole of the UK" should have access to the benefits offered by fiber optic networks. "We are determined to make that happen by the end of the parliament," he said. "That is why the government is investing over £500 million [$814 million] in taking superfast broadband to everyone."

The new network is intended to provide fiber optic connectivity to areas previously unserved. According to Fujitsu, the new cabling will be run directly to homes, rather than to local street cabinets. This will enable speeds of up to 1 Gbps from the outset, with the potential to increase beyond 10 Gbps.

The company also claimed the network will be "truly open" to any internet service providers wishing to offer customers a high-speed internet service. This, the company said, will help to offer businesses and families a range of services to choose from.

Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said the fiber optic network will be the "world's most advanced" and represents "a unique opportunity for the UK to re-establish itself as a world leader."

According to Tait, Fujitsu's approach, in collaboration with its partners, "will provide a future proofed network for at least the next 20 to 30 years."

The UK government has set aside funds to provide broadband access in rural areas. Fujitsu's new network is expected to bring high-speed connectivity to approximately 5 million homes.


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