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The 75km Granta Backbone Network (GBN) is the University’s privately owned optical fibre network. It consists of a series of underground ducts, mounted cable tray and optical fibre cables, which are used to distribute the numerous IT networks around the University’s city campuses.

The University’s Network Team have developed and run the GBN since 1992, delivering high speed, high availability network services to over 40 colleges, institutions and research bodies linked to the University. The expansion of the GBN to locations outside of the Cambridge City boundary has already commenced with further segments planned in the near future.

When construction of the Cambridge Guided Busway was started in 2007, fibre ducting was incorporated into the design, to potentially provide digital connectivity across Cambridge and out towards the rural areas.

Local Full Fibre Networks funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is being used to develop the Council’s fibre duct assets in the northern and southern sections of the busway.

Additionally, new ducting being developed with the construction of The Chisolm Trail and Linton Greenway walking and cycling schemes will result in a 40km fibre corridor from St Ives to Linton.

With recent policy approved by Cambridgeshire County Council making it a requirement for all new major infrastructure projects (roads, paths and cycle routes etc) to include fibre ducting during construction, the council’s network of passive infrastructure will expand extensively over the coming years.