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By: MarkJ - 13 August, 2010 (9:12 AM)
fibrecity uk logoThe i3 Group ( Fibrecity ) has accused Wessex Water in the South West of England (UK) of delaying its fibre optic rollout and being "short sighted" by putting commercial demands above the benefits that an affordable "super-fast" 100Mbps broadband ISP network can bring to residents of Bournemouth.

The comments came in reply to this morning's earlier news item (here), which revealed that Wessex Water had walked away from a deal that could have allowed the i3 Group to use the cities underground sewers to deploy its fibre optic broadband cable.

An i3 Group Spokeswoman told ISPreview.co.uk:

"It is our opinion that Wessex Water has been short sighted in putting commercial demands above the opportunity to provide a low cost fibre optic network that will deliver superfast broadband to their own customers. Citing technical issues as a reason is misleading in respect to the viability of the i3 Group's FS System, a patented method of laying fibre in readymade ducts including sewer pipes. When we announced Fibrecity Bournemouth, it was with the permission of Wessex Water to utilise the pipes where appropriate, therefore keeping disruption to residents and businesses to a minimum. We had completed successful trials and due diligence, and planned to move on to delivery on a commercial basis.

During the rollout, contractual issues have meant that we have had to find alternative means to deliver Fibrecity Bournemouth. As our technology uses three low cost methodologies, we have been able to avoid the rollout coming to a halt, and all works being carried out in Bournemouth are with the consent of Bournemouth Borough Council, having gone through the necessary planning routes.

It is disappointing that Wessex Water's approach to this matter and lack of support for its own customers has been responsible for any delays of the network rollout to date. We are glad to report that other water authorities see the win win that the FS System enables - it helps with the management and repair of the sewer pipes, it generates revenue for the water company as i3 Group pays to have access to the pipes, and of course the fact that the water company’s customers will benefit from having access to a super fast fibre to the home network."

As reported earlier today, the Fibrecity Bournemouth project is still going ahead, although its rollout has been slowed as the i3 Group are now being forced to dig up roads and pavements in order to achieve the same result. This is also considerably more disruptive than using the sewers.
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