The government has pledged £7.2 million in funding towards the University of Southampton’s Photonics HyperHighway project, which it claims could make British broadband 100 times faster.
Making the announcement, minister for Universities and Science David Willets said that the six-year project will “revolutionise the Internet”, and has the potential to make it faster and more energy efficient.
The Photonics HyperHighway project will bring together scientists from both the University of Southampton and the University of Essex, as well as industry partners like BBC Research and Development to research fibre optics and develop new ways to increase Internet bandwidth.
“The Internet is fundamental to our lives and we use it for a huge range of activities - from doing the weekly food shop to catching up with friends and family,” said Willets. “The number of broadband subscribers has grown vastly in the past ten years, and we need to ensure the web infrastructure can continue to meet this demand.”
“On top of this, the Internet industry is worth an estimated £100 billion in the UK, so it is in our interest to make it even better for businesses and help boost economic growth,” he added.
Project lead at the University of Southampton professor David Payne said that Internet traffic is expected to grow by 80 per cent year-on-year, and that the project proposes a “transformation of the physical infrastructure” to match the growth.
“Now is the time to look ahead to develop the UK infrastructure of the future. Our ambition is nothing less than to rebuild the Internet hardware to suit it to the needs of 21st-century Britain,” he said.