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

    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 Silver badge

    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!


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