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UK.gov 'HyperHighway' aims to 'speed up the internet by 100x'

Will only cost £7.2m, apparently

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The UK government says it hopes to "make the internet 100 times faster" by kicking off a £7.2m research project dubbed "Photonics HyperHighway".

David Willetts, minister for universities and science, announced the scheme during a speech at Southampton uni earlier today.

“The internet is fundamental to our lives and we use it for a huge range of activities - from doing the weekly food shop to catching up with friends and family," he said. "The number of broadband subscribers has grown vastly in the past ten years, and we need to ensure the web infrastructure can continue to meet this demand."

“On top of this, the internet industry is worth an estimated £100bn in the UK, so it is in our interest to make it even better for businesses and help boost economic growth.

“The Photonics HyperHighway project has the potential to truly revolutionise the internet, making it much faster and more energy-efficient. The project is also a shining example of the UK’s world-leading role in this area of research, and I look forward to the exciting breakthroughs it will bring."

The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is to be carried out by the universities of Southampton and Essex along with industry partners BBC R&D, Fianium and Oclaro. The effort is expected to run for six years and will "look at the way fibre optics are used, and develop new materials and devices to increase internet bandwidth".

The top boffin on the project will be Professor David Payne of Southampton uni. He said: “Traffic on the global communications infrastructure continues to increase 80 per cent year-on-year.

"This is driven by rapidly expanding and increasingly demanding applications, such as internet television services and new concepts like cloud computing. What this project proposes is a radical transformation of the physical infrastructure that underpins these networks.” ®

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