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Cables for high-speed broadband are set to be run through water pipes to connect hard-to-reach homes, ministers have revealed.

They are looking at a project called Fibre in Water to speed up the expansion of 'lightening-fast broadband' and mobile coverage in rural areas. Innovators are being offered £4million to test the method, which is hoped could be a quicker way to get fibre-optic cables into homes, businesses and mobile masts.

The plan for gigabit-capable broadband has the benefit of avoiding the disruption of digging up roads and land for cables. Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said: 'The cost of digging up roads and land is the biggest obstacle telecoms companies face when connecting hard to reach areas to better broadband. But beneath our feet there is a vast network of pipes reaching virtually every building in the country. So we are calling on Britain's brilliant innovators to help us use this infrastructure to serve a dual purpose of serving up not just fresh, clean water but also lightening-fast digital connectivity.'

In addition, the project will look at trying to reduce the amount of water lost to leaks, currently about 20 per cent of what goes into the public supply.

Sensors will be put into the pipes, enabling water companies to deal more rapidly and accurately with leaks. The Government is already looking at helping the push for 'next generation broadband' by letting telecoms companies access one million plus miles of underground utility ducts, such as electricity, gas and sewer networks.

Finally the holiday season is upon us, whether you choose a staycation or manage to hop on a plane to sunnier climes.

Gardeners can return from a holiday to find that their pots and hanging baskets have frazzled in the sun through lack of watering, so here are a few do's and dont's to give you a degree of damage limitation.

Call on friendly neighbours to help with the watering. Pots and hanging baskets will need watering even if there has been some rain. If they are densely potted up, even prolonged rain might not manage to soak the compost beneath the flowers and foliage. Obviously, during hot weather, they will need to be watered more often. Some pots may be able to be moved to a shadier part of the garden to minimise the effect of the heat.

Deadhead blooms before leaving as they can sap the strength from plants as they become drier.

Harvest fruit and vegetables before you go. You can blanch and freeze them or give them to friends and neighbours. If left on the plant, they can become tough and stringy and plants like lettuce, coriander and other herbs may bolt which will impair their flavour. 

You can give less priority to perennials and evergreens in your garden as most of these plants will be well established as their root system reaches further down so will have access to more water. It might be an idea not to plant new perennials just before you go away as these will need lots of attention before they become established.

Don't worry too much about your lawn whilst you are away. If you mow before you go, you could leave the clippings on the lawn as this will conserve moisture. If you really can't bring yourself to do that, the Autumn rains will soon green it up again.

Hopefully, with some care and organisation, you won't come back from your holiday to any casualties. It won't harm to bring a little present back for your kindly neighbours either.

Millions living in the countryside will be 'lifted out of the slow lane' to enjoy lightening-fast broadband, ministers say. £5billion of taxpayers' money is being spent on upgrading digital infrastructure under a Government drive to 'level up' internet access. 

The plan, Project Gigabit, will see as many as 2.2million homes across England get the fastest internet speeds on the market by 2025. It is targeted at rural areas where businesses and families have long suffered from poor connections. When the upgrades are complete, residents will be able to  download films in less than half a minute thanks to broadband speeds of one gigabit - 1,000 megabits - per second, far higher than the current nationwide average of 72 megabits per second.

It will boost tech firms, make it easier to do business and 'put an end to families battling for bandwidth', according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Oliver Dowden, the Digital Secretary, said: 'Project is our national mission to level up rural areas by giving them the fastest internet speeds on the market'.

Martin Beckford - Daily Mail.

Rock-bottom mortgage rates mean now is a prime time for homeowners to switch when their fixed deal ends, according to data firm Moneyfacts.

The average standard variable rate is now 4.4 pc, which is 1.9 pc higher than the average two year fixed deal. It means someone with a £200,000 24-year home loan could save £204 a month by switching.

The scaling back of the stamp duty holiday has cooled the UK's frenzied property market, according to Nationwide. Figures from the building society show house prices dropped 0.5% in July. It comes after prices leapt 13.4% in June - the steepest rise in 17 years.

Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said the rush to take advantage of the full stamp duty holiday saw housing transactions reach record levels in June. As a result, prices surged - effectively outstripping any savings made from the tax break. While stamp duty is due to return to its pre-pandemic rate by October in England, Nationwide said ongoing demand for larger homes in the wake of the pandemic was likely to continue supporting house prices.

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