The Technology Strategy Board will provide a cash pot of £1 million to "develop technology" capable of delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps to UK homes and businesses although no timeline has been set.
TSB is backed by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and will decide who, amongst a number of research projects, will get the sponsorships worth between £30,000 and £100,000.
The Quango's lead technologist Mike Biddle said in a statement that “The challenge is to identify ways to address the technical issues facing the introduction of ultra-fast broadband within the next decade and to build European collaborations to exploit the technology, while generating wealth for the UK.”
The key difference between what the TSB aim and what BT for example is trying to achieve has to do with the coverage. TSB is looking to foster a pan-European Ultra Fast broadband network, while BT, being more pragmatic, aims at rolling out a 40Mbps coverage nationwide.
It must also be noted that rather than investing in research per se, the Technology Strategy Board is actually looking for feasibility projects. It would be interesting to see whether the main European multi-gigabit computer network for research and education purposes, GEANT2, could be used.
This network of GEANT, the older version, has a minimum speed of 155Mbps, going all the way to 10Gbps on the core optical fiber network.
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Can the TSB achieve what others like Virgin Media and BT have failed to come up with? Certainly not. After all, BT's Research and Development budget by itself is worth tens of millions of pounds per annum. Plus there's the question over whether the internet, as it stands right now, can handle anything near 1Gbps, let alone 10Gbps.
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