Boffins aim for 100-fold web speed increase

Broadband speeds

The Government has announced 7.2 million of funding to go towards a research project to increase internet speeds.

The Photonics HyperHighway project is set to run for six years. It will be jointly undertaken by the University of Southampton and the University of Essex, along with a number of industry partners, and hopes to make internet connections 100 times faster.

Professor David Payne from the University of Southampton, who is leading the project, said: "Now is the time to look ahead to develop the UK infrastructure of the future. Our ambition is nothing less than to rebuild the internet hardware to suit it to the needs of 21st-century Britain."

The research will specifically look at the current use of fibre optics and explore new materials and devices which could help increase bandwidth. The organisations involved hope this will help infrastructure cope with the growing load of traffic, down in part to increased online media, as well as increase the capabilities of businesses.

The minister for universities and science, David Willetts, 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."

He added: "On top of this, the internet industry is worth an estimated 100 billion in the UK, so it is in our interest to make it even better for businesses and help boost economic growth."

The money for the project has been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council the Government agency responsible for funding both research and training across the sciences.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.