London (UK) – You may think your DSL is fast, but 20,000 lucky households in Shoreditch, East London will get Internet connections that can burst up to 2 billion bits per second. In an experimental $21 million dollar project, residents will have fiber-optic lines installed, and also receive infra-red keyboards and remote-controls to convert their televisions into Internet browsers.
The “Shoreditch” project is designed to give economically depressed neighborhoods Internet access and will expand to the rest of Britain if successful. A 140,000 square foot telecommunications center has been built to power and protect the new network. Containing backup power and environmental sensors to detect if the fiber-optic connections will overheat, the new center has been dubbed the “CTU,” borrowing a phrase from the TV series “24.”
The Shoreditch project is not without controversy. Among the many new television channels it offers will be a digital version of the “Neighborhood Watch” program, enabling residents to view installed CCTV cameras around the neighborhood.