Japanese hi-tech corporation, Fujitsu, has declared its intention to lay high speed fibre optic cable networks connecting homes and businesses in some of the UK’s rural areas.
In a move that would set the corporation competitively against the UK’s main broadband infrastructure provider, BT, Fujitsu says it intends to partly fund the high speed cable rollout through UK government subsidies.
Broadband access has been recognised by both the UK government and UK businesses alike as crucial for helping the UK compete effectively in the global economy. Not only can high speed broadband facilitate the rapid transmission of high volume data, it can also help pave the way for the adoption of value added services such as business VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
Up until recently it was feared that rural areas would be left behind in the race to connect the UK through broadband networks, simply because of the poor returns cabling up such outlying communities would bring to any initial investment.
Now, however, the government has pledged to part-subsidise rural broadband development to the tune of £530 million; and it is a slice of this funding that Fujitsu says it would need to help develop its proposed rural broadband development programme.
Fujitsu says it enjoys support for its proposals from service providers Virgin Media and Talk Talk, as well as from business VoIP handset company, Cisco.
The UK’s communications minister, Ed Vaizey, has welcomed the Fujitsu plans, saying that the corporation’s enthusiasm for developing rural broadband, and the backing it has received from companies like Virgin, is ‘exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the Government wanted to stimulate’.
The minister had recently received a letter from several UK companies including those backing the Fujitsu scheme, complaining that BT was charging too much for its wholesale broadband leasing facilities.