We explore how UK water companies could help play a major role in Rural Ultra-fast Broadband FTTH
Water companies could play a pivotal role in the development of
next-generation communication networks
The infrastructure is already there... so why not use it?
Water Companies in the UK could help play a major role in the Rural Ultra-fast Broadband FTTH, Wireless PMP Cell and 4G/5G Mobile Phone Revolution – and they all have the best interests in helping serve their communities and improving the well-being of their citizens and their regional economies.
With the new £95million of UK government funds available for rural Britain, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Water Companies to get Grant Funding to assist in the new roll out of Broadband Fibre, Wireless PMP Internet & 4G/5G, to gain new non-regulated revenues, and at the same time fulfil their in-house connectivity needs for Next Generation SMART Water Networks and be able to implement real-time distributed in-pipe leak and event detection combined with third-party intrusion asset protection.
How can this possibly be the case? Surely this is, at the least, a curious paradox, that Water Companies may provide a key to help unlock cost-effective and rapid delivery of rural connectivity, while also providing significant in-house benefits?
The answer is simple though, Water Companies via their potable water pipes have a ready-made and highly secure ‘in-ground’ infrastructure which may also now carry the fibre-optics for FTTH, Wireless PMP Internet and 4G/5G Mobile, thanks to innovative new technologies from CRALEY Group.
The existing pipe system assets owned by Water Companies provide the ideal means to now carry two key utilities, water and communications. These pipes, by their very nature, go where people are, and this is exactly where the new fibre-optic infrastructures are needed:
Potable water pipes cover large extra-urban, outlying and rural areas providing water to these locations.
It is these areas specifically that the provision of fibre-optics is very poor and very expensive to achieve
(due to long distances and relatively low population densities)
The driver for the increasing need for fibre-optics everywhere is the delivery of Next Generation FTTH, PMP Wireless Access and 4G/5G mobile systems which all have a voracious appetite for data-bandwidth.
As deliverable data rates have increased for Wireless PMP Internet and 4G/5G Mobile systems, the cell coverage areas get increasingly smaller, and this is leading to the new era of small cells to provide the necessary ‘data-density’. This is the challenge, mostly new small-cells will need fibre-optic backhaul to provide the necessary in-bound data-speeds – this leads to the requirement for a new generation fibre-optic infrastructure – and this is where Water Companies now join the picture, in helping to deliver this new and urgently needed fibre infrastructure.
Next Generation fixed broadband is known as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and this has to have fibre circuits taken to the point of local delivery.
The Role of the Water Companies
Many Water Companies already provide space for cell sites, either as space on building assets (e.g. water towers) or on land assets (for masts). Generically these are known as 'Telecomms High Points' (THPs) since they typically occupy elevated sites which are ideal for both cell deployment and on-bound microwave links to lower lying cell sites.
These are ideal locations to site new Wireless PMP Internet cells and the increase of 4G/5G Mobile cells.
In extra-urban, outlying and rural areas, potable and pre-treatment water pipes already link key Water Company assets, and of course also link to communities – water pipes go to where people are. So, these existing in-ground pipe infrastructures provide an ideal ready-made conduit to carry fibre-optics for FTTH, Wireless PMP Internet and 4G/5G cells to exactly where needed.
Most Water Companies the UK have important ‘Social-Responsibility’ agendas, and so have a strong vested interest in improving their regions and the lives of their citizens. While it requires some innovative and lateral thinking, Water Companies have enormous potential to assist in the delivery of this fibre using Atlantis Hydrotec®, which offers an incredibly rapid roll-out rate and dramatically reduced construction costs – this is since the install is primarily trenchless. This sits alongside the benefits that Water Companies may gain from deployment of fibre-optics for their own in-house purposes of data-links, telemetry and control, in-pipe leak and event detection, third-party intrusion security, enhanced CCTV, and more.
There are many aspects to how a Water Company may contribute to and gain from the new rural UK fibre-optic roll-outs for FTTH, Wireless PMP Internet and 4G/5G Mobile cells.