By Marcus Leach

Fujitsu, one of the world’s largest technology and communications companies, has announced plans to work in collaboration with Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco to deliver next generation internet services to 5 million homes in rural Britain.

The collaboration and subsequent Fujitsu build of a new superfast, fibre optic broadband network is a ground breaking and innovative alternative to BT Openreach and provides an opportunity for any community or local authority looking to access a proportion of the £530 million earmarked by the UK Government to drive investment in superfast broadband in rural communities.

The Fujitsu open access wholesale network will be underpinned by Cisco’s world leading technology. Virgin Media and TalkTalk intend to access wholesale products via this network in order to retail next generation services to customers in remote parts of the UK. The network will also be open to other service providers on wholesale terms.

Fujitsu’s vision builds on the company’s extensive experience in both managing telecommunications networks and in building next generation “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH) networks.

The proposals will provide future-proofed connectivity to 5 million households and beyond that would otherwise be unlikely to benefit from commercial investment in next generation digital networks. In particular, the collaboration has the potential to transform rural broadband in the UK in a number of important ways:

In the vast majority of areas, Fujitsu will run fibre optic cabling directly to the home (FTTH), rather than to the local street cabinet. As a result, the Fujitsu network will be one gigabit (1Gbps) symmetric capable from day one with potential to go to 10Gbps and beyond.

Fujitsu’s network will be truly open access to all ISPs offering the end customer an unrivalled choice of services over a single physical network connection.

Deployment across a wide range of underground and overhead infrastructure means that the Fujitsu network architecture is entirely independent of existing street cabinets. This model enables public investment to be targeted in areas where broadband provision is poorest.

The collaboration will actively support the involvement of local community broadband groups, enabling dynamic and flexible solutions in rural communities for the first time.

Superfast upload and download speeds can enable entertainment, remote healthcare, education and future government services without the need to travel. This future-proof infrastructure will shrink distances and will bring to rural Britain the services that the rest of the UK can enjoy today.