H2O Networks is a name usually associated with business grade fibre connections, in fact it is this business that is likely to decide which of the towns out of Bournemouth, Northampton and Dundee will get a residential fibre based service first. The promise of a 100Mbps fibre connection to homes by Autumn 2008 is tantalising. The level of interest from consumers though will heavily depend on price and types of service available.
H2O Networks use the sewer network as the main ducting to link premises which means the cost of deployment is something like 20 to 30% of the cost of a traditional fibre roll-out. This is mainly since it avoids the need for road digging with its attendant disruption, costs and delays as permission is obtained.
According to the item at BBC News Online we may see roll-out starting in September 2008 and take around 18 months to complete. The long term plan being to expand to 14 other towns in the next five years. H2O Networks is not planning to set itself up as a traditional service provider but is in talks with providers who will offer their services across the network and links to the outside world.
If this solution proves popular then it could signal the start of an explosion in competing fibre networks as companies race to get their networks into the ground. Perhaps another replay of the original cable network roll-out is about to start.