back to article 100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way

The idea of laying fibre along sewer lines has been sloshing around the networking business for years. Now a UK firm claims today's broadband will seem a trickle compared to the torrents of data it'll soon offer. It's always been hard to argue with the logic. Sewers are deep underground where cable would be protected from …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The obvious joke ...

    The forthcoming reason for some of the utter cr@p you can browse and download ?


  2. Phantom Wibbler


    This is a shitty idea.

    I'll get me coat!

  3. Les Matthew

    A whole new meaning for

    packet loss?

  4. Tony

    Not a good idea in some parts

    In some areas, the sewers are not that big - this is made worse by years of **** and **** and other noxious substances being washed down the various drains, along with other decaying matter which solidify, and then reduce the size of the aperture. Shoving a fibre cable along a narrow pipe makes it narrower - just wait for all the drains to start backing up and houses filling up with sewage.

    But just how look how fast you can surf the pron sites - makes it all worthwhile!

  5. Ian

    Access isn't the problem, backhaul is

    100Mbps to houses only makes sense if the contention ratios are sensible. Such a service will only appeal to people spodding away with BitTorrent, as there's hardly any other compelling services, so the utilisation will be high (although quite why people need to download at a rate greater than 24 hours of TV per day is a mystery to me). Running ADSL 2+, fibre or whatever to houses is the easy part: the ISP will be committed to 10s of Gbps from the exchange (or its equivalent) to their metro nodes (your typical LLU operator will have one GbE equivalent), and will need to get 100s of Gbps of Internet peering from somewhere. This isn't cheap, and it remains to be seen how large the market for this sort of stuff actually is.

    I work in ADSL equipment manufacturing, and the lunchtime conversation is usually about what compelling services there are to drive adoption of higher data rate. Legal, illegal, cost-effective, not cost-effective, to an extent we don't care, just so long as consumers press ISPs to go to higher data rates we'll be able to sell kit. At the moment, when most people can't get the datarate their line is capable of for reasons deeper into the network, it's a hard sell.

  6. Graham

    Well, at least you worked "series of tubes" in there

    but not a "huge pipe" joke to be seen...


  7. Andrew Bush


    But my toilet is quite a distance from my office and also having a wire poking out of the pan will make cleaning it rather awkward. Not to mention the rats clambering along the cable and finding their way out of the loo. The other option of having it trailing out from the kitchen sink would lead to it getting fouled on the blades of the waste disposal unit. This is madness.

    Hmmm, 100Mbit/s residential connection. Blu-ray doesn't look so rosy if online content were to be available at those kind of bandwidths. The implications for installation are nonetheless a bit scary, with many variables at each location. Think about cowboy cable installers and then imagine them drilling holes in your waste plumbing, pulling out excrement covered cables, nooo!

  8. Stewart Cunningham

    Dundee *is* a City

    With a population in excess of 200,000 it is officialy designated a City.

    Perth on the other hand is, and always will be, a town because it's full of slackjawed yokels...

  9. Nick Gray
    Thumb Up

    About time

    well quite frankley i think its about time that someone went over BT's stranglehold of "we cannot be bothered" under the guise of cost. well done H20!!!

  10. Steven

    I for one..

    ...welcome out sewer-dwelling fibre overlords....

  11. daryl smith


    "the three initial Fibre Cities (towns, really) "

    Dundee is a fully fledged city and has been for hundreds of years.

    Ah yes... thanks; my Burberry cap, and that tracksuit-style coat with smelly brown smears all over it.

    (whistles as leaves)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clenched downloading...

    With a connection this fast the limit will be contention on their backbone.

    Which is the network resource all the other ISP's use throttling for.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    You really think their cable will come out of your toilet?

    It's not practical to run IP-over-SHIT into each house, it's more a technology that comes to the end/ middle of your street, using the sewer like a fscking big duct. The cable is brought out of the nearest suitable sewer manhole, and onto the pavement, into an enclosure. From that point on, fibre is run in a conventional manner to the end point.

    That said, if there was a green box at the end of each street (a-la BT connection points that are littered all over our 'burbs), fed with multi-gigabits of connectivity, containing a small DSLAM, each home would be within a few metres of the "exchange", without having to dig a big long duct back to it.

    Paris, because she'd be stupid enough to think it would just shine out the pan.

  14. Aram

    Google broadband

    It seems that yesterday's joke is tomorrow tech solution...

  15. Paul

    Underground dreams

    Wouldn't like to use a packet sniffer on that network...

  16. John Macintyre

    but will service be shit?

    nuff said

  17. Andy S

    I'm looking forward to it...

    100Mb/s will allow you to download for at least a few mins before you get slapped with the (un)fair use policy and get throttled back down to half a meg.

    The only way this will work, is if you are actually allowed to use the line for whaty it's capable of.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Thomas Tit

    Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'lay a cable'

  19. Umbongo

    This has been... the pipeline for a while already:

  20. Paul Buxton Silver badge

    What tier??

    Doesn't that mean the people who resell this service are Tier 3? Or another way.... the Turd Tier??

    *grabs coat*

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Will this mean that people are downloading more?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've just moved away from Dundee! Must find a way back!

    mmmm.... bandwidth. A 100mbps connection would be awesome; With a bit of luck that'd be sufficient for torrenting, browsing youtube AND gaming simultaneously!

    Anyone who says ADSL is sufficient- even if you get the rated speeds- clearly hasn't lived in a student flat or with a family like mine. We're never off the net!

    An important point has yet to be raised- latency. 100mbps is all well and good, but if I'm gonna be getting a 1000ms ping in TF2 I'll have to pass. Or get a low-latency line for gaming and a high bandwidth line for browsing/downloading/etc.

  23. Luke Wells

    What is the point?

    What is the point in paying for a 100Mbit service if Tiscali are just going to bandwidth throttle it down to 2.9k/sec anyway

  24. Justin

    Customer Service Calls

    'My shitty pipe isn't working'


  25. Thomas Letherby

    @ Tony

    But surely extra fibre keeps the pipes running smoothly....

    Didn't Google get there first with the TiSP Beta first?

    Mine's the one above the big wellies!

  26. Mal Franks

    About time

    There's a serious lack of fibre entering the sewers due to the unhealth British diet these days.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Idiots

    Who's the bigger idiot, the idiot making the joke or the idiot that takes it seriously?

  28. matt
    Thumb Down


    The cheapest bit of laying the cables is the bits running down the street. For NTL, the gangs would be paid by the meter laid. They would then get 2x-3x the amount for the bit coming off the T-Junction to the little bit at the edge of the pavement outside your house.

    How are they going to lay those T Junctions here? Dig up a little bit of road outside everyones house to reach down to the sewer? Would be loads more expensive, than just digging the footpaths up.

    Only way I can see it working is them doing 1 sewer exit per 100m of street then sticking a wifi point on a big pole. OBviously that wouldnt be allowed because of "wifi damaging child"

    The idea that linking to universities shows it works is madness because there is only 2 sections coming out of the sewer.

  29. Hugh Cowan

    Aw Shit!

    This is a shit hot idea!

  30. The_Police!


    Looks like my connection has gone up sh*t creek!


  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Anton Channing

    passing H20

    So all the crap downloaded will be 'passing H20' in the sewers?

    Ah, yes thankyou, the big black leather one thats looking a bit worn in places...

    ...thanks, I'll be off then...

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Idiots

    > You really think their cable will come out of your toilet?

    Are you an American? As you obviously don't get sarcasm. You'd think the 'Joke Alert' icon might give it away.

  34. Andrew Bush
    Paris Hilton

    Anonymous Coward

    "From that point on, fibre is run in a conventional manner to the end point."

    To 26 million residential households, yeah right. Isn't that why the cable companies went broke / still haven't made any money? The down and dirty local loop is the expensive part, not the snazzy backbone! That's why BT still hold all the aces.

    Obviously I don't expect cables running out of toilets, but the distribution from your 'convenient location' in the street is what will cost too much if you deploy 'conventional manner(s)'. What are you thinking, overheat cables from poles or dug-up pavements with ducts? Unless of course the 'convenient location' creates a national network of wireless access at suitable bandwidth...nice. I thought a major plus-point of such a pooh-band network would be to exit the BT local loop stranglehold which exists throughout much of the UK.

    Paris to you for thinking that anyone reading this article really imagines cables running out of toilets except as the vehicle for a joke.

  35. richard tanswell


    I was always taught that the difference betwen a City and a Town was basically if it had a cathedral, it was a City! Nothing to do with size.

    Does this mean we are getting a new protocol?

    S - Speedy

    H - Home

    I - Internet

    T - Transmission


    I don't have a coat, so I'll just be off then!

  36. Steven Dalby

    Google April Fools come to power....

    Maybe they arnt as daft as the smell funny

  37. Daniel Hall

    This Vs my landlord

    Sorry, if im mising something here but..

    If there is going to be a 100mbit fibre running almost to the front of my house (Well, i live on a 3rd floor flat) how will they then connect me from my flat to the fibre?

    It seems to me, that people living in private buildings may not be able to get the permission for yet another cable to be drilled into a wall on my landlords building.

    Weve just had one for Sky done, and that took some persuading.

  38. richard tanswell

    @ Daniel Hall

    Oh the joy of flats!! My friend just realised that on top of his £50 a month Sky+ subscription, he has to pay the flat management company a further £7 a month to use their dish as they won't allow him to have one put up!!

    Maybe they will do something similar with a fibre network....or have a dataroom somewhere and share the connection like in serviced offices....whatever it is, you'll probably be paying more than if you lived in a house (and a faster connection)!!

    I would imagine they'd use fibre as close to the building and ethernet from there...providing it's within 100 metres I guess!

  39. Chad H.


    congestion is going raise a big stink on that network... Will my toiletry needs be subjected to a fair use policy?


  40. Simon Robinson


    As someone who lives in one of the aforementioned places (Northampton - the country's biggest town, awaiting city status for the last three hundred years or so) I can't wait. We've been used as guinea pigs before, the Chip and PIN system was used in the town before the national rollout (and that was fun, working in retail at the time and explaining to EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER what to do...)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    anyone remember the "Bay Town Rollers" ... thought not ... hence conclusive evidence that Dundee is clearly a city.

  42. Johnny FireBlade
    Black Helicopters

    Call me a cynic...

    But once the Government kills P2P, are such bandwidth sizes really going to be used/necessary?

  43. Keith T

    I'm the slime oozing out of your TV set.

    There will be a shit-load of people worrying about it being unhygienic - "Internet through the sewers? what about the smell?"

    LLU - Local Loo Unbundling?

    Cable or Sewer providers? - I've fallen between two stools on this one.

    Will my P.C. become infected or just covered in flies?

    As this will be a 'virtual paper' environment will too many e-mails clog the system?

    Will I need to get the new Norton Plunger to clean other parts of my system?

    Are Dyno-Rod about to become an Independant Shit Provider?

    Round these parts, most of the cable TV piping isn't used that much. It shouldn't be too great a task to go from main sewer to green box.

    That's better, cleared a load off my mind.

    Paris angle? - has anyone smelt Paris? (the city that is)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    lol at Joke comments!

    I couldn't stop laughing at some of the joke comments, LOL!!

    Maybe fibre broadband networks will actually be a reality in years to come, probably not via the sewers tho.

    South Korea already has 100Mb/sec broadband!

  45. Rob Aley

    Re: why people need to download at a rate greater than 24 hours of TV per day

    To Ian :

    Remember that there tends to be more than one person in most houses. Imagine a family of four :

    Kid 1 and Kid 2 in their bedrooms each watching a different live streaming HDTV channel. Kid 2 chatting to freind Belinda on VOIP about that eversohansom pop star she is watching. Kid 1 downloading the latest multi GB linux ISOs.

    Parent 1 in the study working away on the net, watching streaming bloomberg TV or similar while using VOIP to make trades on some foreign stock market.

    Parent 2 in the kitchen, streaming Delia/Jamie/Gordon in HD while making dinner and chatting to aunty over VOIP.

    All while the internet connected fridge contacts Microsoft Update and downloads the latest patches for WindowsForIceMakersOS.

    It all adds up bandwidth wise. And if history is anything to go by, the more we get, the more new and exciting uses we discover for it that we can't think of at the moment.

    So there certainly is a use for that kind of bandwidth. Whether there is the central infrastructure to support it is, as you say, another question. My money is on the old "supply and demand" pony sorting that one out in time.

    Hope this all doesn't put too much of a dent in your livelyhood ... might be time to consider a career change?

  46. richard tanswell


    Surely this will just lead to more "backdoor" attacks.......

    TAXI !!!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    use the existing household connections?

    so what speed can you get over 100m of copper phone cable? Because I would have thought you could manage a good clip - in which case running the sewer fibre directly into the old BT green cabinets would be all you would need to do..

  48. alyn


    This will trully be a wiffy network!

  49. Mark O


    I'm sure the brilliant business minds that came up with this idea have already thought about this, but what happens when a plumber needs to unblock a sewer pipe? or when one needs to be dug up because it is broken.

    Does this mean that every time a pipe leaks and needs to be dug up there must be a crew of technicians present to ensure the fibre optic link is not damaged? and to repair it if it is.

    What about when Joe Bloe plumber sticks an electric eel down a sewer pipe to unblock it and wipes out the internet connection for an entire street? Forget about rats - are the cables going to be strong enough to handle an enormous drill bit churning away at them?

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Hull is just waiting for this

    Clearly the best place for installing this is Hull.

    We have on supplier (Kingston Communications/Karoo/KCOM - yes they do suffer from an identity crisis) and no alternatives for phones, ADSL etc etc.

    No cable, no sky broadband, nothing but KC.

    So there is a clear case for competition and I wouldn't be surprised if half the city jumped ship to the new supplier.

    IMHO clearly a better proposition than elsewhere in the country.

    Only problem being due to the serious flooding this year I can see people objecting to cables being put in the sewers!

  51. teacake

    Dirty Spine

    PlusNet are poised to announce new QoS prioirity levels for different proticols: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper Bolt.

  52. Richard

    Every building?

    "Sewers are deep underground where cable would be protected from clumsy drilling. They also run into the heart of virtually every building in Britain."

    I think you'll find that there's an awful lot of properties which have no mains sewerage connection, and have to rely on septic tanks. But of course, this is yet again another urban solution. BTW, we're on mains sewers here, and have an excellent ADSL connection to the town's exchange.

  53. Rob

    It's the Chinese guy from South Park...

    Except nowadays he answers the 'phone: "Hello, Shitty Internet!"

  54. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Answering Customer Service Calls

    "'My shitty pipe isn't working'" ..... By Justin Posted Thursday 24th January 2008 09:26 GMT


    Check out the joints to make sure that there is no leakage and/or foreign illegal substances in ITs lines. Then you can be assured of Sunshine at Home and on the Home Front instead of Scattered Showers in higher Places on Dodgy Missions.

    And if you add the following Wall Street Journal missive as a preface to the Initial comment here [yes you have to a little bit of brain work and digital action for just desserts :-)] ....... ..... you can be ensured against Future blockage. And I suppose the NeXXXXt Step Stop would be Insurance against Catastrophic Failure and the Ringing of the Lutine Bell.


    "Real banks have steered clear of the make-believe world so far, partly out of concerns that interacting with avatars could cause them to run afoul of federal "know your customer" rules, which are meant to prevent money laundering.

    The losses clearly are tiny compared with the more than $100 billion in recent write-offs by actual banks and securities firms." .....

    QuITe clearly federal rules are the real joke in all of this. And how dumb is it of them to think that they can ever be taken seriously whenever they are so easily milked and their chiefs are rewarded for the pleasure.

    And then you wonder why the natives are revolting? Boy, there are some real dumb asses sat around Board room tables today and aint that the Truth. But hey, that makes them easy prey to their own games, thus to crash the System of Abuse that they use and who would be able to prevent it or even think that it would be wise to do so whenever Sub-Prime Shenanigans were thought and supported to be triple AAA rated Structured Investment Vehicles rather than Theft and Laundry Facilities supplied by the System for Abuse.

    "Linden essentially acknowledges that the financial services being offered in its virtual society have evolved to the point that they need to be regulated in the real world." Now there's a Kiss of Death if ever there was one. :-) The real world has no knowledge of the virtual world where anything is possible

    Comment Preview:

    Wanna Play AI for Real, Jonathan, in an ARG which Leads with Creativity in All the Talents.

    Astute NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity at ITs Work, Rest and Play ... the Real Thing too without the destructive, addictive Coke habit and the Habit ritual players of past Gory Glories.

    FlowurPower2 to Give IT AI Name. >>>

    cc Davos Devotees, ......Hell bent on not seeing the wood for the trees? Ah well, maybe Bono will bend their ears with some Real Heavy MetAIData Rock and Roll rather than drowning in their Fizzy Pop.

    And that was a very Compaq comment, Justin. Are you Phishing for dDutch CyberIntelAIgents and their AIVD Forces ..... via Murphy's Law? You'll need a bigger boat, if you are. :-)

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Great idea - but

    The problem is that none of the ISP's are capable of processing the large amounts of data being streamed back and forth are they?

    That is why they throttle it, which slows the internet, blocks pages, and (due to IPTV being streamed via the DSL part of a router into a set top box) - also bggrs up the TV services offered in bundles.

    They can't handle the demand at the moment; how could they handle increased data streams (not packets, streams)?

    Online gaming is only limited in three ways;

    1) Lack of decent online facilities in games (lack of leagues, lack of ability to play with people from anywhere in the world, lack of ability to chat with them as you play, lack of online gaming community).

    2) Lack of ability (even when the games themselves are rigged up for it) to be able to do what it says on the tin (limited though that actually is) - because of throttling.

    3) Same as 2) but because of limited amounts of data that can be transferred on copper wires.

    Remove 1) and 3) and you are left with 2) being used because the companies will not be able to cope with the huge surge in demand that will occur when people get optical fibre and realise what it should be able to allow them to do.


  56. Andrew Fenton

    Backhaul for VDSL2

    Can't see them running this into every home cheaply. More likely the fibre emerges from the smelly depths near the local BT street cabinet, which then acts as a micro-exchange for all nearby households. VDSL2 can do 50mbit over 1km length (something like 80% of households are nearer than that), 100mbit at 0.5km (60%?), and 200mbit at 0.25km.

    Still kinda expensive putting mini-dslam all over the place, but a lot cheaper than runing cables into every home (see the cable TV networks for proof of that).

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >Yet again another urban solution.

    Why do people who live in nice countryside areas seem to think that the rest of us have to subsidise their obviously more expensive service provision?

    Of course it's going to cost you more if you live on an island, on your own, in the Orkneys when compared with people living in stacked flats four deep back to back in a city centre.

    "I think you'll find" that we don't give a high bandwidth shit.

  58. Christopher Lane

    RING of fire...

    Calll me stupid (crowd shouts "You're STUPID!!!") but if a sewer is damaged, needs repair or replacement...what happens? Sure, getting the old piece of CONCRETE TUBING out is easy (read the upper case bits, all will be revealed) but when you come to replace it how do you run the cable THROUGH it...Un-thread an end and pass it back? Are there junction boxes? With the aforementioned..errm..detritous passing through the sewer the junction box would need to be practically impenetrable to all but a small thermo nuclear warhead.

    Just a thought...

  59. Anonymous Coward

    To the moaners

    If you can't figure out why having 100mb or more internet access is a good thing, let me give you some hints.

    Imagine you live in a household with four people (2+2 family). With 100mb, there is enough bandwidth for everyone - BitTorrent, YouTube, VOIP, BBC iPlayer, Slingbox etc can all run at the same time. You can reliably stream HD on-demand TV and movies, something Satellite and even Cable providers find next to impossible due to limits on shared bandwidth.

    It's the difference between having to wait a few days/weeks to rent a HD movie online, and being able to stream it instantly and reliably. It could solve the Freeview HD problem too.

    H2O are planning not just to become a high speed ISP, but to become a big player in the media market. BB, Phone, TV, on-demand/rentals, and since no-one else seems interested in or capable of reaching the kind of bandwidth they will have they will have zero competition.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when you get a bad ISP

    Saying you have a "Shitty connection" will ring true in more ways than one.

  61. muzchap

    I always wondered

    why my downloads were quicker when 'FLUSHING' but my uploads dropped off!

    I also have no coat, and probably no job now! :(

  62. Anonymous Coward

    This Chap Will Only Say 'I Told You So.'

  63. Alex

    Hang on - April Fools

    Did you guys at El Reg post an April Fools article about the very same thing?!?!

    You guys been shooting the needle and painting again? (Yup, Heroes!)

    i could be wrong, but then again, I might not be. Worth a punt or two...

  64. Richard

    @ JonB

    "Why do people who live in nice countryside areas seem to think that the rest of us have to subsidise their obviously more expensive service provision?"

    I'll give you a clue: it's called "being a civilised country," but of course, that concept is anathema people obsessed with greed and who couldn't care about the consequences should the rural economy shut down completely, and we'd have to import all our food from abroad, and with nobody left to make the countryside look neat and tidy for when the townies visit. (Another clue: the nice countryside doesn't happen by accident, it's as a result of farming.) I suppose you also advocate Royal Mail dropping its Universal Service Obligation? Of course it would be cheaper all round if everybody lived in large urban areas, and didn't that Ceauceascu bloke have this idea? I wonder what happened to him...

  65. Nicholas EGF Berry

    Shurley shome mistake?

    "The final decision on who'll get the maiden rollout is set for April ..."

    Shouldn't that be 'midden rollout"?

  66. Law
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Call me a cynic...

    Yeah - bandwidth will be needed. I have a legal download system in my house, called the Xbox 360 - where if I want to wait half a day I can download a HD film for less than £3. Not really worth it at the minute tho, since I can log into my home pc from work and begin the download via UseNet for about £10 a month. :p

  67. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @@ JonB

    Spoken like a Brave Knight of Yore, Richard. Roll on Hedonistic Altruism ...... Ye Olde Worlde Sun King Territory.

    I wonder if Charlie boy is so smitten/infected/graced? Now that would be a Novelty indeed and worthy of being a well-kept, jealously guarded Secret.

  68. Soruk


    I hope they run a strong encraption protocol on the link...

  69. Dave Edmondston

    Can't believe...

    No-one's mentioned 'logging on' yet...


  70. Steve Skipper
    Thumb Up

    Just finished flushing my DNS cache

    The name of the company managing this should be called Cistern Systems.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    amanfromMars's keyboard

    Either his A and L keys are stuck together, or he has non-standard fingers (or whatever he types with). But what language kbd is that?

  72. Norbury

    Nottingham? Me arse.

    Nottingham, population 194458, Stockport, population 284528 according to the 2001 census. Which is the biggest town in Britain?

  73. Anonymous Coward

    Will have to upgrade wastewater treatment plants

    To deal with the amount of fiber running through the sewers

  74. Anonymous Coward

    New Social Networking Site...?

    Damn! is already parked by someone. There goes another million dollar idea!

    Yeah, I'll get me coat, just let me flush my browser cache...

  75. Darryl

    Wait! One more...

    Imagine the benefits when using 'pee-to-pee' file sharing.


  76. Name


    Couple this with the earnings from the green partys methane plant for bio friendly energy and you could have a real "pay as you go" system.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    US possibilities

    NYC metro is a good place for this kind of program too. It could start in Flushing ...

    /rotten-tomato-proof coat

  78. Alex Smith


    this is just going to be another "flash in the pan"?

  79. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Oh No !

    Oh no , will BT take an even bigger dump with all their former customers lining up to connect with the crapper so as to speak , and TISCALI totally flushed away as well ?

    I suppose one aspect is we won't have a big night out like the day Bell Telephone New York took down CON EDISON Power Grid in New YORK that fatal day !

  80. Trevor

    How about....

    Downloading some brownware?

    (Thanks BOFH)

  81. JeffyPooh

    What about...?

    Every sewer pipe is supposed to be equipped with clean-out ports at regular intervals. These ports allow the plumber to insert his rotor-router to clean out the pipes. This is not a common activity for most people, but (looking at the larger picture) it keeps an army of plumbers gainfully employed. If the fibre cable enters the house along the sewer pipes, then it'll get shredded by the first plumber to router out the pipes.

    Personally, I don't see any reason not to just run the fibre alongside the telephone and cable TV cables. With mass-installation, the price for installation should drop to something perfectly affordable.

  82. gollux


    Oh, Roto Rooter is the name,

    If you want to flush your troubles down the drain.

    That last bit from the house to the curb is gonna be the test, between rats, obstruction augers, etc. Will be interesting to see how it survives.

  83. David

    Shitty connection

    When is a shitty connection a good one?

  84. Paul Delaney

    Will this be tomorrow's

    Bog standard broadband service?

  85. Adrian Esdaile

    That explains it

    You put sh1t into it; you get sh1t out of it.

    Brings a whole new meaning to "laying a cable".

    Will bandwidth drop during half-time in the footy?

    Yep, the wellies are mine...

  86. Aubry Thonon


    No "networked Wii" jokes?

  87. J

    I knew...

    I was sure the comment section for this one would be full of "great" jokes... And it would become Roto-Router, instead of Roto-Rooter, no? (my humble contribution)

  88. Anonymous Coward


    @ Google broadband

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who remembered that joke. However, it seems that they're offering at three times the speed Google offers (100 vs 32)

    @ Hang on - April Fools

    I believe it was google who came up with the joke.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a shit hot idea :)

    I must admit I do think this is actually quite a good idea, initially I thought yeah sure security concerns, but stuff it, that is what encrypted connections are for, though I am sure Sewer Sneaking will become something of a rage for a while.

    As to concerns about the ISPs moving the data, well who cares about the ISPs these babies could just be connected to the net directly. ISPs will be amongst the biggest buyers, we are talking fibre (forgive the pun) optic here. You know that this could be meaning serving from home with ease, and localized nets, no phone system to go over hopefully.

    If I was an ISP I might be a little concerned right around now, though it looks like 2020 is the estimated completion date. Though if this is fiber how come they are dropping to 100Mbps to the house, is there not going to be a fiber link to the house itself, or are they just quoting the normal network speed for most NICs.

    Anyway, KPMG (accounting firm) supposedly bought up some sewers, or were advising their clients to do so some years back, I imagine that idea is linked to this. If I was running this idea I would not screw around, I would get the cabling done as fast as possible, it would basically mean becoming the new communications giant in the UK. Who needs telephone lines, and with a capacity that large you could corner the market on telecoms easily. It could even take the mobile market; there was the idea of hotspots many moons ago, that got replaced with the huge masts that now litter the landscape, but hey that idea could make a comeback.

    Lots of possibility with this one, if they don't get it wrong - they better cable with the highest throughput cabling possible, no cutting corners, I want to bring my servers home :) Let them buy a cabling factory in China to do this, or let's make fiber optic ourselves, but as soon as this idea becomes a reality, the effect on the UK economy will be significant.

  90. Anonymous Coward

    Toilet humour

    I just want everybody to know that El Reg took exception to my potty mouth and banned three posts from this comments thread earlier, with no explanation as to why.

    All I said was that Hull's Karoo roo roo could be called Karoo loo loo, that this stuff is taking the pee(is) and that we are flushing our money away for this sheet and what a waste it all was.

    I wrote this and mentioned the dead pan expression on my face as I went to fetch my coat.

  91. Maksim Rukov

    toilet humour

    An ISP(ee) would have to be flush with cash, able to piss away money, to afford a scheme like this. Mind you, every John and Jane will be going potty over the data flow. Some suburbs could really benefit, you could bowl Staines over with this kind of broadband cistern (yes I know how shit Staines is, bad example then). Of course, some people will pooh-pooh all this, and ignore how exciting the turd generation of broadband will be! It's not just a pipe dream any more. Trouble is, you lift the lid on mass piracy, watch over your grandmother lest the RIAA sewer!

    Mine's the one with the breating apparatus.

  92. Danny Thompson

    @ Idiots

    " ...... if there was a green box at the end of each street (a-la BT connection points that are littered all over our 'burbs), fed with multi-gigabits of connectivity, containing a small DSLAM, ......"

    Oh ....... what? ...... you mean a bit like TPON, but for data? The flaw in your master-plan is that the DSLAM technology limit would still be the max ADSL2+ speeds of around 24Mbps. Fibre to the home is intended to go just a smidgen faster than that me ole dear.

    No, it is time to move on from what you can do with a pair of copper wires and actually *do* something else.

    I tend to agree that the future is a patchwork of different technologies, both wire/cable and assorted wireless. Once the companies start selling wholesale the market will burst open and the BT and Virgin Media duopoly will be broken. It is starting now that [at least some of] the 3G companies are beginning to wake up and smell the coffee, the so-called killer app has been staring them in the face but they simply haven't seen it. If they're not too late, they will have to compete with fledgling WiMAX delivery now being deployed in the UK. Intel and others will see to it what WiMAX is in most every mobile device, and the notion of a traditional fixed-location device (i.e. PC) will erode in favour of mobile/portable.

    My only concern with sewer delivery is the practical side of things over the so-called "last mile", that bit from the mains and into the home/office. I forsee more frequent blockages - and perhaps more cable damage as the business whose job it is to unblock do so with cavalier disregard for the permanent cable in the pipe. Some of those unblocking power tools would be particularly hostile to any cable in the pipe. Whose liability would it be if the local feeder cable was damaged in such a situation?

  93. Andy Worth

    Hmm....coat incoming...

    Well I thought the obvious joke was that someone had too much fibre in their diet....

  94. Anonymous Coward


    Bah. Townies already subsidise your roads, schools, ambulance and fire service, rubbish collection and every single other public service you receive. On top of that all your much-loved farming only exists because of all the cash diverted from us to the common agricultural policy. Since we pay for you all, we get to call the shots.

    So quit wasting your time on the internet and go trim some hedges, they were all looking very untidy last time I went outside the concrete jungle.

  95. Robert Harrison

    Someone beat me to the ...

    .. 'fibre' joke. However there certainly already is a lot of cable laying taking place already. And a fair amount of cable crimping too.

    Mine is the heavy duty thick bright yellow work overcoat...

  96. Anonymous Coward

    Crap joke

    Would we have to 'pong' IP addresses rather than 'ping' them?

    I'll get me coat!

  97. Anonymous Coward

    Network Congestion

    I take it when there's Network Congestion h20 are going to call Dynnarod.


  98. Simon Robinson


    I'm assuming you referred to my post in the "biggest town" debate (note: that's NORTHAMPTON, a town, not NOTTINGHAM, a city). It all depends on what measure you use - Bolton has become a unitary authority so it's debatable whether it's a town or not.

    One thing's for sure, we've got the biggest town centre market square in the UK, and a massive increase in Polish people who'll be the ones Dynorodding the drains and cutting off my broadband halfway through a HD film.

  99. Eddie

    Only £15bn!

    £50bn to prop up an incompetent, greedy bank

    £20bn+ for some half-arsed ID scheme

    or £15bn for BT to cover the country in fibre?

    I know what I'd like the lazy, incompetent bunglers at Westminster to piss my taxes away on.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Stewart Cunningham: Size isn't everything.

    The technical definition of a city is "has a cathedral" hense

    Note ye well: "Known to the Romans as Bertha from the Celtic 'Aber The' meaning mouth of the Tay. The city has been a Royal Burgh since the 13thC and was a Royal residence throughout the middle ages. Perth is often refered to as the Ancient Capital of Scotland on this account." see if you doubt me.

  101. N
    Thumb Up

    Way to go

    Fibre up the whole country via the sewers, Yes, you'll have to wait for hell to freeze over for government support so dont wait for that lot

    & I hope you and bankrupt BT!

    Gets my full support, but oh er does this mean the crapper will need a router & RJ45 connection?

  102. Tharglet

    Excuse me...

    ... I'm just going to go and make an upload to the internet...

    Though it'll be a good long while before they have it where I live...

  103. Kevin Dwyer
    Paris Hilton

    Bournemouth- hahahaha

    Why Bournemouth? the place is a shit hole next door to Poole.

    Bournemouth University main Campus is in Poole, there is a wonderful sign on the Platform at Poole Railway Station which says " Welcome to Poole Home Of Bournemouth University" that must have ruffled a few feathers as last time I passed through Bournemouth Station someone had cobbled together one of those cheapo vinyl signs and strung it over a gantry in the Station. The sign said "Welcome to Bournemouth home of Bournemouth University " or some such lying twaddle.

    The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is based in Poole because the good burghers of Bournemouth have a policy of bulldozing lovely historic buildings and allowing eyesore Cinemas to be built to obstruct the sea views. I don't think they will rest until they have created a New Blackpool on the South Coast.

    So, fuck Bournemouth wire up Poole first, and specifically my road, I will even give them a hand poking the Fibre down my toilet pan

    Paris Hilton, because she is intellectually superior to the Meeja Studies pissheads who blight the town centre every Friday and Saturday night

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gives a new meaning to... as you go.


    Thank you! thank you! I'm here all week, enjoy the buffet.

  105. Austin Troxell

    TCP... IP... UP... WeP... CDP?... OSICDP!

    Hey, this new "tunneling" method isn't as far-fetched as one might imagine.

    If you REALLY want to see a clever transmission proposal, look up RFC 1149 - "Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on avian carriers."

    For 100mbs, I'll give TCP/IPoo a try...

  106. James Melody
    Paris Hilton

    A use....

    Finally I will be able to download 50GB Blu-Ray images over BitTorrent.

    The paris angle? One night in paris in HD goodness!

  107. Sub-Vulture II


    Hi! I moderate comments, and indeed sometimes I do take exception. I'm afraid I don't usually have time to mail everyone to whose comments this applies and explain why.

    Fortunately you were able to repost the gist of the rejected comment (why did I reject it? I really can't recall), and now I can see the error of my ways and what an enriching contribution I passed up on.

    Did you also have a hat? Here you go.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone beat me to it?

    whole new meaning... logging on.... Make your own joke up from here...

  109. Neil Jones

    And there's more...

    Will it support Voice Over My Pee?

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late...

    Meh, it's been done...

  111. Trevor


    Now the viruses we have to worry about are Cholera, Typhoid and Dysentry, I'd like to see Mcafee et. al. block them!

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wont Work

    I cant see it working tbh

    every time a pipe breaks the cable will need to be reran in as you cant just cut the fiber, pop in a junction box and carry on also knowing water company's it could be weeks before they repair broken pipe and people could be weeks with out internet

    I like the idea of 100mb/sec but i dont think Fiber up sewers is the way to go

  113. Michael


    The future is FTTH and specifically with one of the PON technologies, GPON or GEPON. I'm betting on GPON in UK. cabling through the sewers is actually very good as lng as it is done properly.

  114. Richard Scratcher

    Surfing the Information Super Sewer

    That it should come to this. Laying cables in the sewers and drains.

    In the eighties when Thatcher was stealing milk from kids and privatising everything in sight, BT was a world leader in fibre optic technology. But in those days there was no interweb and the only reason BT would have for putting fibre into its millions of miles of underground ducts would be to make even more money by delivering cable TV. They were forbidden from doing this for a decade or so because the government wanted to break BT's monopoly and so we had lots of companies digging up the roads to put in their own ducts.

    Meanwhile the rest of the world took a more sensible approach and raced off into the 21st century while the UK was busy buggering up pavements and slicing through tree roots to lay ducts alongside BT's existing network.

  115. richard tanswell

    Hull?? @ Anonymous Coward

    Quote: "Clearly the best place for installing this is Hull".

    How would they tell the difference between the sewers and the streets?? :-)

  116. Ian Nice
    Paris Hilton

    Lets not bother

    This cracks me up, this story describes part of the potential solution for upgrading the consumer comms system in this country. Yeah sure, the last mile while be difficult, and i agree not everyones drain will be big enough, and yes, we all know some people have septic tanks. But hey, if you could get fibre to within 100 meters of 80 % of the population then great! I know, why dont we not bother trying things out. Lets keep using BT's arcane copper network for ever and get left behind. Before posting critical comments, you should think, how would i do it if it was my money? If it was easy as laying some new fibre everywhere then it would have been done before. This is the sort of excellent problem solving skills that will give us the edge, and make us world leaders. Perhaps it wont work, but what have we lost? A very small proportion of the 15bn BT option!

    Paris because some people have her vision!

  117. Ishkandar

    Be prepared for serious doses of Denial of Service attacks....

    ...when someone gets going with his Vindaloo !!

    I also presume that the ISP will now be flushed with success !!

    That heavy duty NBC suit, please

  118. Tom Kelsall

    Catching points

    Not saying that this is why it can't be done, but we've all been aware of what happens when a toy gets stuck down the bog - it gets jammed and "things" stick to it, wrap round it, etc until eventually it blocks the pipe. This will likely be a technical issue for consideration when laying cables in sewers... it's not just fluid in sewers!! Tissue, condoms, "wet wipes", all sorts of reasonably solid stuff gets down there, and any cable junction, "T" or inline splice, is going to be a "catching point" for debris. Blockages will happen within weeks I reckon - unless they encase the fibre in some outwardly-smooth trunking (which will be really expensive).

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only in Africa?

    When I was working in South Africa 17 years back we were networking a Novell Server to an AS400. As the said systems were in different buildings on opposite sides of a large business estate, and Ethernet was not cheap, the network manager had contracted a cabling company to lay some fibre between the buildings over the weekend.

    Upon our return to work on Monday the cable was laid and terminated. We (being WAN geeks) decided to follow the cable and much to our shock and mirth, the cable contractor had laid the cable through the sewer system! Only in Africa? Not anymore by the seems of things..

  120. Morely Dotes

    Good lord, is it April 1st already?

    Surely no one other than a venture capitalist could take such a proposal seriously!

  121. Matt Semper

    For those of you in the countryside

    Just hook-up your router to your septic tank and you'll get you internets delivered monthly on a big truck.

  122. Charles Hammond

    Sewer Spam 2.0

    Maybe you will start getting Sewer Upgrades.

  123. Neil

    Could you please...

    ...dump and flush the log please sir. I see the problem sir, Steve at number 42 had a vindaloo last night and you're sharing his contention. Shitty luck sir.

    Love heart, because the fall of BT can't come soon enough.

  124. Robin

    I got one:

    Do you think there will still be problems with the occasional Log Jam?

  125. Chris

    Teh interwebs

    Well all knew the internet was not a big truck, but it appears it may, in fact, be a series of tubes.

    Who'd have thought it? The prophecy has been fulfilled.

This topic is closed for new posts.

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