BT Seeks Partners For ‘Ultrafast’ G.Fast Broadband Trials In Cambridgeshire

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT presses ahead with G.Fast pilot in Huntingdon, with the promise of 500Mbps speeds for most of UK within a decade

BT has briefed communications providers on plans to test G.Fast technology and is inviting third parties to participate in a trial in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire next month.

The G.Fast standard uses existing copper cables to maintain speeds of up to 1Gbps as far as 400 metres from the cabinet, making it a far more cost effective technology to boost speeds than Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), which involves the laying of more fibre.

The purpose of the Huntingdon trials is to test deployment processes and the technology itself, while also seeing what speeds and experiences it can offer customers.

BT G.Fast trials

Fibre Broadband © Datskevich Aleh Shutterstock 2012BT believes G.Fast can deliver up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade and is holding large-scale trials in Huntingdon and Gosforth, Newcastle as well as a smaller pilot of around 100 properties in Swansea, where it also plans to open a test lab at the BT Tower in the Welsh city.

The company has so far achieved speeds of up to 800Mbps at its Adastral Park R&D centre in Suffolk and says it can reach 700Mbps on a 66 metre long cable – the same maximum distance from an exchange as 80 percent of properties connected to the Openreach network.

It is expected that a commercial G.Fast network would initially offer speeds of ‘hundreds of megabits’ before edging up to 500Mbps as the technology becomes standardised and more advanced equipment becomes available. BT has also confirmed it is working on the creation of a ‘premium’ G.Fast service that could achieve the maximum theoretical speeds of 1Gbps.

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