Fujitsu plans massive rural fibre-to-the-home network

Fujitsu plans massive rural fibre-to-the-home network

Summary: The company already has Virgin Media and TalkTalk lined up to resell its wholesale connectivity, which could bring symmetrical 1Gbps speeds to five million rural homes


Fujitsu is to build a wholesale fibre broadband network in the UK, with the aim of offering next-generation services to five million rural homes.

The company, which announced its move on Wednesday, will use Cisco's infrastructure kit in its bid to create the UK's second-biggest fibre network. Virgin Media and TalkTalk are already lined up to resell Fujitsu's services to consumers.

Fujitsu fibe broadband UK

Fujitsu's fibre broadband network is "exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the government wanted", according to Ed Vaizey. Photo credit: David Meyer

According to Fujitsu, the "vast majority" of the rural connections will be full fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), which is capable of delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps for both uploads and downloads, with the potential to reach 10Gbps in the future.

"There is a unique opportunity for the UK to re-establish itself as a world leader by having the world's most advanced fibre network," Fujitsu UK chief executive Duncan Tait said in a statement. "If done correctly, this can be a key vehicle to accelerate recovery in the UK and bring genuine choice to generations of communities starved of participating fully in the UK economy."

"We believe our approach, in collaboration with these major industry leaders, will provide a future-proofed network for at least the next 20 to 30 years," Tait added.

Fibre to the home

Fujitsu's wholesale network will be ready for use by retail ISPs towards the end of this year, the company told ZDNet UK, and its connectivity should go live for rural premises in 2012. Fujitsu has not given details of how many premises will be offered FTTH connectivity, as opposed to slower fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology. However, its reference to a "vast majority" indicates the opposite approach to that taken by BT.

BT, the only company so far to build out an extensive wholesale fibre network in the UK, has said it will offer up-to-100Mbps FTTH to only 25 percent of the 16 million premises that will be passed by that network by 2015. The rest would get FTTC, which only offers up to 40Mbps.

Fujitsu's fibre rollout will completely avoid the use of BT's street cabinets and will "actively support the involvement of local community broadband groups, enabling dynamic and flexible solutions in rural communities for the first time", the company said. However, 80 percent of the planned rollout will rely on the use of BT's poles and ducts, Fujitsu told ZDNet UK.

On 4 April, Fujitsu joined Virgin Media, TalkTalk and other ISPs in writing to communications minister Ed Vaizey. In their letter, they complained that BT's terms for allowing access to its poles and ducts are unfair and BT is trying to charge too much for public infrastructure access (PIA).

On Wednesday, Fujitsu made clear that its newly-announced fibre plans will not go ahead unless it gets its way on PIA, which is a key part of the government's strategy to open up the super-fast broadband market.

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'Substantial UK investment'

Vaizey was extensively quoted in Fujitus's network announcement, saying the plan "was exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the government wanted to stimulate by remove barriers to broadband rollout".

"Fujitsu and their industry partners are pledging a substantial investment in the UK, and it represents a deep commitment to the future success of this country," Vaizey said in the statement. "Creating this superfast broadband network will help improve the economic and social prospects of the homes and businesses where high-speed internet access remains just a dream."

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Topics: Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • All very well to put high speed Braudband in - we are meant to be one of the first towns (Guildford) to receive the Fast service, but with only 10 houses on the wrong side of Crushed ducts under the A3 and only Highways spy camera optical cables for company from the other direction, what chance 'one of the first' ever getting above 2.8mb which we receive at present.

    Noting BT are charging £300.00 a year for the 'fast' service as compaired with our £80.00 per year for our claimed 20mb.....

    what chance - none what so ever.....
  • lots of comments on there.
    I think this may be another trick to divert public money into openreach coffers for duct share, but I really hope I am proved wrong and fibre gets out to the rural areas to make us a truly digitalbritain. Until everyone has access we stay analogue. Ubiquitous, affordable, fit for purpose connectivity can only come through fibre. Bring IT on.
  • Hi Chris
    Used to have a lot of contacts at Fujitsu. Will see whats on. They are in Coventry
  • At last some company that does seem to care about end customers unlike BT who just want to milk as much money out of them for a below standard service.

    If they're based in Coventry let's hope the midlands is the first place they connect to FTTH. Having moved to Ludlow from Warrington I'm really annoyed with BT for their poor quality internet service and rip off prices they charge people in this area. My only option round here is either BT or if I want to go down the LLU route either Orange or TalkTalk, would much prefer to have Virgin Media back again like in Warrington. At present I'm with Plus net for the first three months whilst it's cheap, then have to look elsewhere unless Plus net decide to LLU this exchange as well, and I think BT have a cheek charging £30 per month for a 2mbps with 60Gb limit line when I was paying Virgin £25 a month in Warrington for a 50mbps unlimited broadband only line.
  • BT - rubbish! I cancelled my account after being with them for 15 years, since the days of dial-up and early ISDN. They just kept upping my charges for a 2MB line and when I was paying for 8MB was only getting on average 3.5 but still paying the full price for 8MB all the while NEW customers were getting better deals and when I complained about that, it was simply 'tough - you can always leave' so i did. Currently my area still is 8MB cos BT havent got their fingers out of their bums and updated the exchanges. BT will always charge more than what they provide for their customers, because they can get away with it. When/If fibre comes to my area (south west scotland) I hope I can get it at reasonable rates/prices.
  • FTTH will be brill once completed