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UK Gov’t announces €4.7m fund for unique pipeline project

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A new competition is offering up to £4 million (€4.7 million) in research and development funding for innovative pilot projects that could see fibre broadband cables fed through the country’s water pipelines.

Fibre in Water (FiW), a joint project led by the UK Government and the Geospatial Commission, will award funding from January 2022 to 31 March 2024. The pilots are also expected to help reduce the amount of water lost every day due to leaks, which is 20% of the total put into the public supply.

The projects will involve putting connected sensors in the pipes that allow water companies to improve the speed and accuracy with which they can identify a leak and repair it.

Water companies have committed to delivering a 50% reduction in leakage, and this project can help to reach that goal. FiW aims to help telecoms companies accelerate the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband networks across some of the harder-to-reach areas in the UK, by utilising existing national infrastructure as a quicker and more cost-effective way of connecting fibre optic cables to homes, businesses and mobile masts, without disruption caused by digging up roads and land.