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Utilities could be the key to Next Generation Internet says Ofcom

Telecoms regulator Ofcom will consider whether next generation internet could be deployed faster and at a lesser cost by making use of existing utilities infrastructure like water pipes.

The industry regulator might have been inspired by the H2O Networks pioneering work; this small company reckons that using UK's 693,000 kilometres of sewer to plant broadband cables could be a quick and cheap way to get rid of the last-mile problem.

A sizeable chunk of the estimated £15 billion investment for building a fibre network in Britain will be swallowed by the cost of digging and actually installing the cables.

The announcement came a few days after BT asked Ofcom to release it from its responsibility of deploying its next generation network across the country while maintaining the old copper network.

Ofcom has also published guidelines to encourage builders to embed super fast broadband in new homes and they pointed to Germany where fibre-to-the-home installation adds 7 percent to the cost of a dwelling.

Ofcom's CEO Ed Richards stated: "Super-fast broadband is ripe for deployment in new build areas. We need to take advantage of this and encourage investment in networks while promoting competition.

"This will allow consumers to benefit from all the advantages of super-fast access speeds, competitive provision and choice."

The emergence of popular video on demand has put unprecedented strain on existing infrastructure and has forced some ISPs to openly ask for more infrastructural investments to be made by the government.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.