back to article Bournemouth floats UK's first 100Mbps sewer broadband network

Bournemouth will be the UK's first town to benefit from a town-wide fibre network, with 100Mbit/s access available to businesses and consumers, via the sewer system. H2O Networks, a start-up we wrote about earlier this year, will lay cable to more than 88,000 homes at a cost of about £30m. The firm is funded by venture …


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  1. Geoff Spick

    bmth rocks

    Yay, finally a chance to ditch Virgin. Hope the prices are competitive, if not super-cheap as we're testing this stuff for them.

    Come on down, the water's lovely -

    Happy because Bournemouth is great

  2. Andrew
    Thumb Up

    Southampton Plxes?

    Be nice if we could have such technology in our city! The council is already fibre-linked together!

    Then again, what PHORM ideas will they apply to such connection?

    Its about time too... we're so far behind in internet technology.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silver surfing at the speed of light...

    I don't see why they've picked Bournemouth - surely downloading knitting patterns and shopping online for hairnets, dog food and incontinence pants can all be done perfectly well over an ADSL connection?

  4. GrahamT

    Cable to the door...

    quote: "get the cable to the door via a 20mm-wide, 100mm-deep channel."

    Is a 4inch deep cable going to be safe from 6 inch long spade or fork? Or do people with high speed broadband have no time for gardening?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: silver surfing

    Clearly Tony's not visited sunny Bournemouth in a while. It's all students, tourists and stag parties. We're the Ibiza of England, dontcha know.

  6. Matthew

    @ AC re "Ibiza of England"

    Yup, still glad I've never been to Bournemouth!

  7. Christian Berger

    350 pounds per connection?

    Wow, that's actually rather cheap. I would love to pay 350 pounds for a fiber to my home.

    Hopefully this will just be bare ethernet so you will already have a network to your neighbours for free.

  8. Darren Lovell

    Lay cable?

    "H2O Networks, a start-up we wrote about earlier this year, will lay cable to more than 88,000 homes at a cost of about £30m."

    Dear God! What were they eating if they could lay cable to that many homes?

    Mine's the one with the laxatives in the pockets.

  9. ED Stroudley

    Keep off the Grass

    "Is a 4inch deep cable going to be safe from 6 inch long spade or fork?"

    = Standard procedure for telephone utilities in US of A subbubs

  10. Steve

    4inch deep tube

    I should imagine that the cable itself will be protected in some kind of ducting when traversing gardens. Certainly my VM connection is, which was lucky as they'd gone through the roots of the Leylandii that I dug up last summer (manually, though not with much care... :)

  11. JP Sistenich

    Fibre in their diets?

    At least this should help Bournemouth keep (data flow) regular then...

    The one with the hard hat and gas mask please...

  12. MarmiteToast


    6 inch spade? Isn't that rather a trowel?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward re England's ibiza

    Poet's Corner still there? And what about the Zoo? Haven't been to Bournmouth for ages. As far as I remember it's all students and heaven's waiting room.


    (bloody Ibiza, btw. Never been there, never will be.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: re: Silver surfing

    Oh, am I behind the times? Sorry.

    What happened to all the old folks? Did they all die off, or are they all too scared to leave their homes due to marauding herds of tourists, students and stag parties?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    re: re: re: Silver surfing

    Old people can be found lurking in Bournemouth's many suburbs. We sacrifice the town centre to tourists and stag groups in the summer, still plenty of nice little pubs for us locals, and if you're smart you'll walk a mile along the beach away from the pier to find a nice quiet spot by the sea.


    The Zoo and Cage is long gone. It's 'Elements' and (dear lord) 'Disco Fever' now. Never been in there, never will.


    You should visit. It's a lovely town, not a seaside ghetto. Just don't come in July or August if you can't cope with crowds.

    Paris 'cos we have no shortage of scantily-clad ladies in the summer months

  16. Tom

    Don't know what the fuss is about

    I've been laying cables into the sewers for years...

    Mines the one with the HAZ MAT breather gear.....

  17. Jon Pain


    Does this not remind anybody of one of google's april fool hoaxes?

  18. Andrew Smith


    So everyone has a superfast connection and decides to use it each evening when they get home from work. What kind of connection do they have coming into Bournemouth?

  19. Alan Parsons

    You dirty rat

    Wow - didn't know there were so many of us 'Bournemouthians' on here.. But has anyone thought out the true consequences of this? Fibre can be passively tapped and rats have been shown to be worrying intelligent creatures. Bear with me. We're all eating GM food and pooing it out. So what happens if we get uber-intelligent, oversize rats with a penchant for stripping fibre and the teeth to do it? With the number of mobile phones that get flushed they'll have plenty of bits to build a compooter with, plus we all know that you can use poo as a power source.

    You don't want to worry about alligators in sewers, it's genetically modified script kiddie rats that are the real issue, and we're handing them a better and faster connection than most of us have. It'll end in tears, but I, for one, welcome our new long tailed, plague bearing overlords.

    Or maybe the late great Mr Adams was wrong and it was rats and not mice all along? Seems subtly engineered to me.

  20. Garry Mills

    Hong Kong

    A friend was boasting about the 100Mbs pipe that he has to his flat in Hong Kong, at least I can say we are getting there.

    Apart from the fact that he's got a slow connection, HK broadband offer up to 1 Gbit/s. We are still behind (no pun intended)

  21. Rob Davis

    Internet from the sewers - wasn't it filthy enough already?

    So we have sewers to take away our filthy stuff but now the internet comes from there to bring it all back up.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory observation...

    I hope it continues to handle the massive surges in downloads, especially right after dinner time...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Connection speeds, contention ratios, etc?

    I mean if it's [potentially] 33,000 customers sharing all 100Mbps then that's a little slow- about 3.3kbps.

    Then again, that's still faster than my formerly-Pipex-now-Tiscali connection at peak times.

    And what's the latency? Sneakernets can both give far higher bandwidth than even gigabit or 10 gigabit connections, and IP over Avian Carrier will be up to that level with holographic storage. But playing Quake over them would still be a little jerky.

    If it ends up being [relatively] high latency due to a fairly crap infrastructure it'll not be any good.

    It's a new technology and I'm old. It scares me...

    Lets just hope it's symmetric upload/download, non-traffic shaped, no FUP, next-to-zero latency, 1:1 contention, etc etc. If it was less than £75 a month for that I'd go for it. £10 a month and I'd buy a few and bind them together into one huge super-'net-pipe.

    Oh, and to Alan Parsons: tapping fiber without anyone noticing a dropped connection is orders of magnitudes higher than with Copper (find flat bit of cable, strip outer insulation and armour, and attach IDC connector. Hook each pin up to monitoring equipment. No loss of service unless you're a bad aim with the IDC connectors and no resplicing of fiber. Which is a bitch.).

    Dead bird becuase that's a serious problem with IP over Avian Carrier.

  24. alistair millington

    @Andrew Smith

    The connection coming into town will probably be BT's 21CN, which means it'll be shite and 100 years behind the real world.

    Still emailing your mates down the road will be faster and p2p sharing will be great.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of fibre to keep thing running smoothly

    Now all this fibre in the home, surely it will cause a few blockages, hopefully will bring new meaning to the shite service will receive from most ISPs. It could it be said most are going down the drain fast. Or am I just Poo Pooing the idea of a decent ISP. Probably just a lot of hot air about nothing (or should I say methane).

  26. Fluffykins

    @Jon Pain

    Freudian slip? I read the URL as





  27. It'sa Mea... Mario

    @Poet's Corner still there? And what about the Zoo?

    No both changed. P(*ss) O(ff) E(arly) T(omorrow's) S(aturday) is now a fancy resturant, and the Zoo & Cage last I knew were called Elements - although that may have changed since.

    Re the Fibre: Go Bournemouth about time we had something first for a change!

  28. Martin Nicholls


    Don't think anymore fibre in shitter jokes are needed, they've all been done.

    Btw if anybody thinks this service is going to be cheap - you're off your rocker. Well, either you are or h2o are.

  29. Gavin Pearce

    Re: Google

    Yea I was going to say, Google have already done this :-p

    Did the start up nick the idea from Google's April Fools joke? Or the other way round.

    Oh please let it be flush and go.

    ^^^^ look at it if you haven't alredy ^^^^

  30. Richard Porter

    Fibre to the bog

    Very appropriate, considering the amount of crap that comes over the internet.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Sewer BVroadband Network

    Does that mean the user will actually be downloading crap onto their PCs?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @It'sa Mea... Mario & AC

    Well, I guess I would be too old now for Zoo or Poet's anyway. I might see whether The Seagull in Boscombe still exists next time I'll come around.



  33. Anonymous Coward

    Keep Off the Grass

    The NEC (National Electric Code for US) requires 18-24" burial for communications cables generally (some variation for conduit and such). This does not stop the cable companies from just scratching a tiny trench with a claw hammer and popping a wire in though. Watched them do that I have.

    Some cabling has 'integral conduit', which lessens the burial depth, but don't rototill anywhere near it....

    But it does me no good, since this is America and there isn't anyone to provide anything but POTS at the property entrance. Digital third world it is.

    I have however found that cantennas plus EnGenius (or similar) exterior bridges can stretch several KM LOS. Now, I just need a suitable backhaul point :)

  34. Nick G
    Paris Hilton

    Which Bournemouth?

    Do they mean yer actual Bournemouth or are they including those bits of Poole that Bournemouth likes to claim (such as Bournemouth Uni actually being in Poole)

    Paris because she's responsible for many an increase in bandwidth

  35. John Hughes
    Paris Hilton

    This [wont] be the world's largest single fibre deployment

    Look, I know the fact that France is superior to the UK in all ways embarrasses all right thinking brits, but "This will be the world's largest single fibre deployment" is ignorant even for someone from Bournemouth.

    A small town called Paris started installing 100mbps fibre last year. Using the sewers even. With that amazing capitalist invention known as competition to keep the prices down.

    I can't imagine how to choose the little icon thingy.

  36. Chris Miller

    How long?

    before the first customer complains about the 'totally unreasonable' 3TB per month cap??

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @John Hughes

    "I know the fact that France is superior to the UK in all ways"

    Well, at least UK won one or the other war in contrast to France. Otherwise it quite often feels a bit like a second-world country - if it comes to service culture, it's nothing but third-world. But at least with regard to CCTV UK is superior to the rest of the world for being home to half of world-wide cameras. Great!

    Says the EAfH defending UK somewhat. And who hates control freaks.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    As they say...

    Shit in, shit out....

  39. Slaine
    Thumb Up


    ...garbage in, garbage out. At least now we will have the confidence of knowing that it is travelling along a suitable conduit.

  40. Anonymous Coward


    link encraption comes standard..

  41. Slaine

    ooo I got another one...

    It's just perfect for Flush Media.

    TADDAAAAA !!! yes, I know, I'm dreadfully sorry for that one.

  42. Banshee


    Will someone PLEASE tell this company that the city of Kingston-upon-Hull NEEDS this technology !! Hull is the ONLY city in the whole UK that has ZERO choice of ISP or for that matter telco provider. The whole infrastructure including isp servers, phone lines, exchanges, you name it, belong to Kingston Communications and are operated as an effective monopoly which OFCom refuses to even investigate properly.

    This fibre by sewers system looks to me like a God-send to us. See this link for further comment/info on the subject from Hull residents themselves on the standards of service and treatment we get >>

  43. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Cheap customers

    Bournemouth full of tightwads is it? It would explain this comment:

    Its about time too... we're so far behind in internet technology.

    There again, so would this:

    Hope the prices are competitive, if not super-cheap as we're testing this stuff for them.

    Assuming the preliminary figures of £30 million were cooked up by the PR men and that no long term damage to the sewers is involved. And that there are no snags (ha.. in a British sewer?) that is £340 per customer before profit.

    And they want it for free?

  44. John

    @Anonymous Coward

    As an ex-serviceman, it pains me to say it, but "Well, at least UK won one or the other war in contrast to France" just isn't historically accurate. The contribution of the French Army to winning WWI was greater than the British - in killed, wounded, men involved, sectors of the line held, etc. It is also sadly true that Russia won WWII against the Germans, not the West.

    More on topic, without more technical info on the service, it's impossible to say if it will be either good or cost-effective. What optical kit are they deploying? Are they using Spanning Tree? RST? VPLS? h-VPLS? Q-in-Q or MAC-in-MAC? We need more info than "fibre at 100Mbps"

    PS HK, like most of the much-lauded Far East, only gives good connectivity to high-density MTUs. Try living in the sticks, and see what broadband speeds you get - IP over OX-Cart!

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