High-speed broadband to be run through water pipes in new trial

Drinking water pipes between Barnsley and Penistone in South Yorkshire will be used to trial the new form of internet access delivery.

High-speed broadband will be run through water pipes in an area of South Yorkshire as part of government plans to get better internet access to people sooner, it has been announced.

Proposals from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will see fibre-optic cables deployed through 11 miles of drinking water pipes between Barnsley and Penistone, reaching up to 8,500 homes and businesses as part of a trial of the technology.

The scheme aims to speed up the process of rolling out faster broadband without having to dig up roads or carry out other works which can cause disruption, and will also see fibre sensors be used to help the water industry detect leaks in the system.

The Government said the trial would last for up to two years and, if successful, could be used more widely from 2024.

“Digging up roads and land is one of the biggest obstacles to rolling out faster broadband, so we’re exploring how we can make use of the existing water network to accelerate deployment and help detect and minimise water leaks,” digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez said.

“We’re committed to getting homes and businesses across the country connected to better broadband and this cutting-edge project is an exciting example of the bold measures this government is leading on to level up communities with the very best digital connectivity.”

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