EC grants £20m to advanced fibre broadband research

Wednesday, June 29th 2011
Scientists have been tasked with finding ways to deliver speeds of 1Gbps to homes across Europe.
EC grants £20m to advanced fibre broadband research
The European Commission (EC) has awarded millions of pounds of funding to 13 research projects that will look into ways of boosting fibre optic broadband speeds.

A total of €22.3 million (£20 million) has been granted to the initiatives, which will see scientists work on the delivery of 1Gbps broadband speeds to homes and businesses across the continent by utilising photonics.

This technology, which is based on the generation, emission and transmission of light waves, has been used to drive innovations in a number of sectors, including the telecoms and healthcare industries.

Each of the research projects, which constitute the commission's Piano+ initiative, will run for two to three years and focus on how broadband equipment - such as routers - and IT systems can achieve speeds of 1Gbps and above.

At the same time, scientists will investigate ways to bring down the operational costs associated with ultra-fast internet connections.

"The objective is therefore to develop technology to give customers a faster service at no extra cost," the commission explained.

One-third of the funding has been contributed by the EC itself, with the remainder coming from national agencies. It is hoped that this joint approach will help to cut down the time taken to develop ultra-fast fibre optic broadband networks.

Among the recipients of the cash is the OBTAIN project, conducted by Alcatel-Lucent Germany, which aims to deliver a highly efficient optical backhauling network design to meet Europe's future demand for broadband infrastructure.

One of the scheme's focal points will be the development of optical modules required to make the advanced network architecture possible.

Neelie Kroes, the commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda, said: "I'm very happy that research on technology relevant to delivering super-fast internet speeds to the homes and businesses of 500 million Europeans is taking off.

"Such technology could have a crucial role to play in meeting Europe's broadband needs far into the future." 

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