Fujitsu has announced its intention to rollout a fibre network to five million homes in rural Britain with download and upload speeds of up to 1Gbit/s in a move that could help to close the digital divide in the UK.
The firm said that it will invest between £1.5bn and £2bn over the next three to five years, around £500m of which will come from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund.
The network will be accessed on a wholesale level and ISPs Virgin Media and TalkTalk have already announced that they intend to use the network, which will be based on technology provided by Cisco.
Andy Stevenson, managing director of Fujitsu's networking division, told V3.co.uk that the company developed the project after the government announced its commitment to broadband funding, and that it had already received backing from numerous quarters.
"We collaborated with Virgin and TalkTalk on the possibility of creating a superfast network after the government's announcement that it was ring fencing £830m for next-generation broadband projects," he said.
"We've undertaken a number of physical studies in the UK looking at the economic model of the rollout and, after talking to ministers and other players in the market, the case we are making seems to be compelling."
Stevenson explained that Fujitsu is still in the business evaluation stage of the project but that the network could be ready between 2012 and 2015.
Fujitsu intends to use existing infrastructure to provide access to remote areas after Ofcom announced its intention to force BT to provide access to its ducts and poles.
"Ofcom pushing to open up physical infrastructure access means that the right competitive environment is in place. As long as access is priced reasonably we will be able to offer 1Gbit/s from day one, way beyond what BT offers," Stevenson said.
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