£2bn rural fast net

Fujitsu has revealed plans to build a £2 billion (€2.24bn) high-speed broadband network covering 5 million rural homes in Britain. The Japanese group wants to build and operate a superfast broadband internet network based on optical fibre, and has an agreement with TalkTalk and Virgin to use it.

BT is currently constructing a £2.5 billion superfast broadband network, although the infrastructure is largely focused on urban areas. The UK government is making up to £830 million of public funds available to help finance superfast broadband infrastructure.

Fujitsu said its high-speed network would cost between £1.5 billion and £2 billion to build, and that it was looking to secure £500 million of public funds.

Ed Vaizey, communications minister, said the collaboration between Fujitsu, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco “was exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the government wanted to stimulate by removing barriers to broadband roll-out”.

Duncan Tait, head of Fujitsu’s operations in the UK and Ireland, said the planned network could help accelerate economic recovery “and bring genuine choice to generations of communities starved of participating fully in the UK economy”.

Fujitsu said TalkTalk and Virgin Media were intending to use wholesale products on its networks so as to provide broadband services to their retail customers. TalkTalk and Virgin Media are Britain’s second- and third-largest consumer broadband providers.

The Japanese group’s plans are dependent on running fibre through BT’s underground ducts, as well as stringing cables between telegraph poles.