BT hopes 40Gbps FTTP trials will show it is investing in future networks and can meet demand for ultrafast broadband
BT says it has completed a ‘European first’ trial of advanced fibre to the premise (FTTP) technology that it calms can deliver 40Gbps and 10Gbps connections on the same fibre cable.
The company has been testing Huawei’s 40Gbps ‘NG-PON2’, 10GBps ‘XGS-PON’ and 2.5Gbps ‘GPON’ between its Adastral Park R&D facility in Suffolk and the University of Suffolk in Ipswich. All three different technologies use different frequencies, allowing them to coexist.
BT claims the development will influence the future deployments of FTTP networks but also demonstrates how existing infrastructure can be futureproofed against the anticipated growth in demand.
The university has used the additional capacity for research purposes and future trial phases will see it stream lectures and deliver online courses among other things.
BT’s use of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) for virtually its entire rollout of superfast broadband has attracted significant criticism from those who feel it is “sweating” its copper assets rather than investing in pure fibre.
However it has pledged to rollout ‘ultrafast’ speeds of up to 330Mbps to 12 million UK premises by 2020, at least two million of which will be FTTP. The remainder will be served by G.Fast – a technology that speeds up copper connections. FTTP will ‘disproportionately’ target businesses and deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps initially.
BT claims this is the fastest, most cost effective way of delivering ultrafast, although critics have again accused the company of failing to invest in futureproof infrastructure.
Clive Selley, BT Openreach CEO, will hope the trial will show it is looking beyond G.Fast and even existing FTTP technology.
“It’s also vital that we continue to look even further into the future, and prepare for increasing data consumption over our network. That’s what this trial is all about,” he said. “The trial proves that not only is our FTTP network fit for the future, but with the right equipment in the customer’s home and at the exchange, we can tailor speeds to suit their individual requirements.”
FTTP has been trialled in urban, suburban and rural areas by Openreach to ascertain both demand and the most cost effective way of deploying the technology.
The first phase will take place over the next nine months, allowing communications partners like TalkTalk, Sky, and BT’s retail division to offer 1Gbps packages by December.
Westminster, Holborn and the City of London will be among the first locations to be connected, helping to ease concerns that parts of the capital are broadband no-man’s land. Bristol and Bath have been targeted because of their science and technology pedigree as have other cities because of their role on the government’s envisioned ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
Just two percent of the UK can access FTTP, although BT is the largest provider, serving more than 300,000 premises. Virgin Media says it will connect at least one million homes and businesses to FTTP as part of its wider network expansion, while CityFibre, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear are also investing.
TalkTalk and Sky are currently involved in a joint-venture in York with a view to rolling out the model nationally if it is successful.
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