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New UK research 'could make the internet 100 times faster'

David Willetts, the UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, has announced £7.2 million of investment in a project dubbed Photonics HyperHighway to "make the internet 100 times faster.”

The six-year project will bring together scientists from the University of Southampton and the University of Essex with industry partners, including BBC Research and Development, to pioneer new technologies that could make broadband internet 100 times faster.

The project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will look at the way fibre optics are used, and develop new materials and devices to increase internet bandwidth. This will ensure that the web can cope with more broadband subscribers and the increasing use of services such as internet television.

"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,” says Willetts, announcing the investment during a visit to officially open the University of Southampton's Mountbatten Building, where much of the research will be conducted.

Project leader Professor David Payne of the University of Southampton said UK broadband infrastructure needed development now. "Our ambition is nothing less than to rebuild the internet hardware to suit it to the needs of 21st-century Britain.”

Story filed 28.01.11

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