Conference paper
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The structure of a city can be understood in terms of the connections that exist between the individuals, groups and institutions that exist within it. These many and varied connections include transportation links such as roads, rail and footpaths, and reticulated service networks for electricity, gas, sewerage and telecommunications. Although the telecommunications networks that exist in our cities may not have the physical presence of the other systems, they are nevertheless, an increasingly crucial component of a well functioning and, moreover, an efficient urban environment. While there have been many advances in telecommunications technologies in the past decade, the next real phase of development to occur in our cities is only just beginning. The rollout of very high capacity networks to the home – the so-called ‘Next Generation Networks’ (hereafter, NGNs) – will probably be the most significant advance in our telecommunications development since the original twisted copper pair network began to be rolled out in earnest at the turn of last Century. Indeed, those who design, build and maintain our cities should treat these NGNs like any other essential service, something to be actively encouraged in order to make our cities attractive places in which to live.

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