A plan to lay a high speed fibre optic cable network through the sewers of south-coast town Bournemouth has been scrapped.
Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) supplier i3 Group hoped to use sewers owned by Wessex Water to run the optical fibre cables, as laying fibre this way would have been a lower cost, and less disruptive solution than more conventional methods, such as digging up roads.
However, despite a trial period, the project will no longer take place, though Wessex Water was not giving much away regarding the reasons why.
A statement released by the company read, "There are issues concerning commercial confidentiality between Wessex Water and i3, therefore we are not prepared to comment at this stage."
i3’s response, from chief executive Elfred Thomas was sent to TrustedReviews and stated that, “It is our opinion that Wessex Water has been short sighted in putting commercial demands above the opportunity to provide a low cost fibre optic network that will deliver superfast broadband to their own customers. Citing technical issues as a reason is misleading in respect to the viability of the i3 Group's FS System, a patented method of laying fibre in ready-made ducts including sewer pipes.”
i3 also forwarded on comment from Scottish Water, who has been working with i3 Group on laying cables via sewers for some time. “Scottish Water and i3 Group have been working in partnership for several years,” the statement read. “We are well advanced with the work on sewers and have deployed point-to-point fibre technology in parts of Scotland already. Progress has seen us move away from the proof-of-concept phase and to active commercial deployment of the technology.”
While the Bournemouth sewer route is now blocked, it’s not the end of the line for what has been dubbed the Fibrecity by any means though. Instead the cables will have to be laid via the traditional digging up of the roads – which will means more inconvenience for local residents and a delay on the roll-out to potential customers.
Once completed though, three providers, Fibreband, Velocity 1 and Vispa will be able to offer up to triple-play phone, TV and broadband connections to punters. Packages will start at only £9.99 a month for 25Mbps, and burst speeds of up to 1Gbps will be available on some deals.