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Communications giant Fujitsu is to link up with a number of leading internet service providers (ISPs) to deliver next-generation broadband to the UK countryside.

The Japanese firm is linking up with Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco to provide high-speed broadband to five million homes in rural Britain - with speeds of up to 1Gb in the pipeline.

Fujitsu aims to construct an open access wholesale broadband network, which will serve as an alternative to BT Openreach's fibre infrastructure.

The network will offer fibre-to-the-home services rather than using street cabinets, meaning the service could potentially offer up to 10Gb downloads in the future.

It will be constructed using both underground and overhead infrastructure, allowing public investment - in the form of Broadband Delivery UK grants - to be targeted at areas where broadband provision is poorest.

Communication Minister Ed Vaizey expressed delight that Fujitsu, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco share the government's vision on bringing super-fast broadband to rural Britain.

"The collaboration between these companies is exactly the sort of ambition and innovation the government wanted to stimulate by removing barriers to broadband rollout," he stated.

"Creating this super-fast broadband network will help improve the economic and social prospects of the homes and businesses where high-speed internet access remains just a dream."

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