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Nextgenaccess gains 20-year rights to run full fibre alongside HS1 track

Broadband infrastructure provider will deploy high-capacity 432 Fibre System between Stratford in London and Eurotunnel in Folkestone

Wholesale full-fibre broadband infrastructure provider Nextgenaccess has agreed an exclusive 20-year concession from rail operator HS1 to deploy full-fibre infrastructure along the High Speed 1 track.

High Speed 1 is the 67-mile high-speed railway link that connects St Pancras International in London to the UK Channel Tunnel in Kent, and connects with international high-speed routes to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. HS1 has the 30-year concession to own and operate High Speed 1, the UK’s first section of high-speed rail, as well as the stations along the route – St Pancras International, Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.

The project will see Nextgenaccess use its technology and expertise in trackside rail fibre, deploying a high-capacity 432 Fibre System between Stratford in London and Eurotunnel in Folkestone, where it will connect to international fibre systems to mainland Europe, providing the shortest fibre route to Eurotunnel and subsea cable crossings in Kent.

“We are committed to delivering greater economic benefits to the people of Kent,” said Dyan Crowther, CEO at HS1. “Through our infrastructure, we are already providing the fastest trains in the country and are now also enabling Nextgenaccess to provide some of the fastest broadband speeds to Kent.

“This is an innovative collaboration that will save hundreds of thousands of hours of road disruption that would otherwise be caused by installing this fibre on Kent’s roads.”

Nextgenaccess believes that tapping into the potential offered by strategic trackside rail routes such as the High Speed 1 corridor offers diversity from traditional public telecoms infrastructure. This will provide what it describes as “significant” additional fibre capacity opportunities for local authorities, network operators and service providers, enabling them to quickly and cost-effectively address the broadband availability and ultra-fast performance demands of neighbouring communities and businesses.

Also, the company says it will support the increased network capacity challenges and requirements of mobile operators as 5G-based services are rolled out.

Back in October 2018, the National Digital Infrastructure Fund, a privately run fund backed by £400m of money from the government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, awarded £22m to ultrafast network builder Nextgenaccess to improve connectivity to over 4,000 small businesses in and around Newport, south Wales.

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