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Fujitsu unveils plans to bring fibre to 5 million homes and businesses in rural Britain

Fujitsu UK & Ireland

April 13, 2011

Fujitsu, one of the world’s largest technology and communications companies, today announced plans to work in collaboration with Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco to deliver next generation internet services to 5 million homes in rural Britain.

The collaboration and subsequent Fujitsu build of a new superfast, fibre optic broadband network is a ground breaking and innovative alternative to BT Openreach and provides an opportunity for any community or local authority looking to access a proportion of the £530 million earmarked by the UK Government to drive investment in superfast broadband in rural communities.

The Fujitsu open access wholesale network will be underpinned by Cisco’s world leading technology. Virgin Media and TalkTalk intend to access wholesale products via this network in order to retail next generation services to customers in remote parts of the UK. The network will also be open to other service providers on wholesale terms.

Fujitsu’s vision builds on the company’s extensive experience in both managing telecommunications networks and in building next generation “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH) networks.


The proposals will provide future-proofed connectivity to 5 million households and beyond that would otherwise be unlikely to benefit from commercial investment in next generation digital networks. In particular, the collaboration has the potential to transform rural broadband in the UK in a number of important ways:

  • In the vast majority of areas, Fujitsu will run fibre optic cabling directly to the home (FTTH), rather than to the local street cabinet. As a result, the Fujitsu network will be one gigabit (1Gbps) symmetric capable from day one with potential to go to 10Gbps and beyond.
  • Fujitsu’s network will be truly open access to all ISPs offering the end customer an unrivalled choice of services over a single physical network connection.
  • Deployment across a wide range of underground and overhead infrastructure means that the Fujitsu network architecture is entirely independent of existing street cabinets. This model enables public investment to be targeted in areas where broadband provision is poorest.
  • The collaboration will actively support the involvement of local community broadband groups, enabling dynamic and flexible solutions in rural communities for the first time.
  • Superfast upload and download speeds can enable entertainment, remote healthcare, education and future government services without the need to travel. This future-proof infrastructure will shrink distances and will bring to rural Britain the services that the rest of the UK can enjoy today.

The plans rely on the remedy imposed by the regulator Ofcom, on BT Openreach, to provide access to its underground ducts and telegraph poles on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

Communication Minister Ed Vaizey said: "Superfast broadband is already helping businesses grow and improving the lives of those able to access it. But many rural and hard to reach areas are missing out. The whole of the UK should be able to share in the benefits of broadband and we are determined to make that happen by the end of the Parliament. That is why the Government is investing over £500m in taking superfast broadband to everyone.

“I am delighted that Fujitsu along with Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco share the Government's vision. The collaboration between these companies was exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the Government wanted to stimulate by removing barriers to broadband rollout. Fujitsu and their industry partners are pledging a substantial investment in the UK and it represents a deep commitment to the future success of this country.

“Creating this superfast broadband network will help improve the economic and social prospects of the homes and businesses where high-speed internet access remains just a dream.”

Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu UK and Ireland said: “There is a unique opportunity for the UK to re-establish itself as a world leader by having the world’s most advanced fibre network. If done correctly this can be a key vehicle to accelerate recovery in the UK and bring genuine choice to generations of communities starved of participating fully in the UK economy. We believe our approach, in collaboration with these major industry leaders, will provide a future proofed network for at least the next 20 to 30 years.”

Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett, said: “Virgin Media’s involvement in this ground breaking project is part of our on-going drive to rapidly create a step change in the UK’s digital evolution. Fujitsu’s vision and global expertise provides an opportunity to change the game in terms of broadband provision in parts of the UK that are otherwise being left behind. We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the ambition of a digitally-enabled society a reality beyond the country's cities and towns.”

Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk Group said: “TalkTalk believes that high-speed internet access must not become the preserve of the few. Fujitsu’s investment will stimulate competition and allow us to deliver affordable products to the widest possible range of families and small businesses in all parts of the UK. Furthermore, accessing a Fujitsu network will allow us to extend our superfast broadband footprint while complementing our existing FTTC strategy.”

Cisco UK & Ireland’s CEO, Phil Smith, said: “Cisco is focused on driving the best superfast broadband in Europe to communities, towns and cities. We are committed to economic development, digital inclusion and improved public services such as health care and education. Fujitsu’s approach to building an open-access wholesale platform promotes innovation and competition across the UK. Underpinned by Cisco’s next-generation technology, this partnership has the opportunity to revolutionise the digital agenda for rural Britain.”


About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$54 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com

Fujitsu UK and Ireland is a leading IT systems, services and products company employing 11,400 people with an annual revenue of £1.7 billion. Its business is in enabling its customers to realise their objectives by exploiting information technology through its integrated product and service portfolio. This includes consulting, applications, systems integration, managed services and product for customers in the private and public sectors including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer sectors. For more information, please see: uk.fujitsu.com

About Virgin Media

Virgin Media is the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the UK. The company delivers ultrafast broadband connections to over half of all UK homes, with speeds of up to 100Mb, and is expanding this cable network – the result of a multi-billion pound investment – to reach thousands more people across the country. Virgin Media has developed the most advanced interactive television service, bringing together broadcast TV, thousands of hours of on demand programming and the best of the web in a single set-top box powered by TiVo. The company was the first to offer HD TV and 3D on demand to millions of UK households. Virgin Media also operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world’s first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country. Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and the London Stock Exchange (VMED). For more information, go to www.virginmedia.com

About TalkTalk

TalkTalk has 4.2 million broadband and phone customers signed up to TalkTalk, AOL Broadband and TalkTalk Business. TalkTalk operate a fully unbundled network, which extends to over 2,000 exchanges and covers 85% of the population. TalkTalk is one of seven partners behind YouView (www.youview.com), the new internet-connected TV service, along with the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Arqiva and Five. YouView is expected to launch to UK homes in 2012.

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com. Cisco equipment in Europe is provided by Cisco Systems International B.V. and Cisco International Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of Cisco Systems, Inc.

Contact

Stephen Smith

+ 44 (0) 20 7861 2835
teamfujitsu@harvard.co.uk
Harvard PR

Graham Goulden

+ 44 (0) 843 354 9568
graham.goulden@uk.fujitsu.com
Fujitsu UK & Ireland


Date: 13 April, 2011