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BT's plans for a UK-wide fibre-optic network could be aided by a unique copper cable removal technique.

It had been expected that work to implement the telecom giants proposed £1.5 billion high-speed network would involve a lot of digging, but a new method of replacing copper with fibre-optic cables currently used in Germany and Austria could simplify the process, reports the Times.

The patented method, known as Kabel-X, is said to reduce the cost of removing the copper cables by as much as 80 per cent.

Another added advantage is the retention of resurfaced copper for re-cycling purposes.

"Kabel-X works best in urban areas where the cost and disruption of digging will be very high," one of Kabel-X's founding UK partners told the newspaper.

The technology is due to be showcased this weekend during the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia.

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