UK trials technology to deliver broadband through water pipes

Yorkshire Water has started investigations in South Yorkshire to plan the first UK pilot

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Yorkshire Water has launched an investigation into a new scheme designed to deliver superfast broadband through water pipes to rural communities in South Yorkshire.

The project, which was awarded a £1.2 million government grant, will see fibre optic cables laid within 17 kilometres of the water firm’s network between Barnsley and Penistone in South Yorkshire.

Fibre optic cables are used to power households’ internet connections.

The cables will be put into what the company called ‘messenger pipes’ – these pipes will protect the cables and make sure they don’t touch the water.

The first technology to insert fibre optic cables into water pipes was approved for use in the UK by the regulator of drinking water in England and Wales, the Drinking Water Inspectorate in 2019.

The project is expected to help the company detect leaks and cracks in its pipes faster.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “Digging up roads and land is one of the biggest obstacles to rolling out faster broadband, so we’re investing to explore how we can make use of the existing water network to accelerate deployment and also help detect and prevent water leaks.”

Sam Bright, Innovation Programme Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are very pleased that the government is supporting the development of the Fibre in Water solution which can reduce the environmental impact and day-to-day disruptions that can be caused by both water and telecoms companies’ activities.”

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