Fibre in water

We're working on a UK-first pilot to see if fibre-optic cables can be laid inside our water pipes.

Ripples on water

More than 99% of people in the UK get their water through underground pipes. Wouldn’t it be great if we could use our existing network of water pipes to carry the fibre-optic cables that power your internet connection?

We’re kickstarting the fibre in water market in the UK, with funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. If the project is successful, it’ll be a great way of getting fibre broadband into hard-to-reach areas.

What’s more, the cables will help us detect cracks and leaks on our pipes, so we can fix them quickly and lose less water. We’ll literally know our pipes inside out!

Our plan is to put the fibre cables into ‘messenger pipes’. These pipes will protect the cables and make sure they don’t touch the water.

Messenger pipe inside a water pipe

 Messenger pipe   Water pipe  Valve

Latest news

March 2022 - We’re doing our research

Our plan is to put the fibre cables into ‘messenger pipes’, which are made from the same material as our new water pipes. The messenger pipes will protect the fibre cables and make sure they don’t touch the water.

But first things first, we need to make sure this is safe for customers. We’ll look into any possible risks and will iron out any potential problems with the design, technology or processes. 


What’s next?

If the project passes the initial research phase, 17km of fibre-optic cables will be laid in our water pipes between Barnsley and Penistone in 2023. This will be the first time a project like this has been trialled in the UK!

Read about our other projects