BT Bonds Broadband To Fill Gaps In Digital Britain

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Two broadband lines per subscriber means more homes can get the government’s proposed 2Mbps broadband

BT is testing technology which uses “bonding” to extend the range and speed of broadband, to help deliver the government’s Digital Britain target of 2Mbps for every home in Britain.

BT’s Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) is a bid to put more people online without resorting to wireless to fill in the gaps, an idea that was put forward in the government’s original Digital Britain report earlier this year, and which BT has criticised, arguing that wireless may be able to deliver 2Mbps, but will not meet the actual load requirements of universal broadband.

“We’re really excited about the potential of BET to extend broadband to the remaining not-spots,” said John Small, managing director of service delivery at BT Openreach. BET – already used on business lines, extends the range of broadband to12km, beyond the normal 5km range of ADSL.

It uses SHDSL (Single-Pair High-speed Digital Subscriber Line) to deliver 1Mbps in both directions, but “bonds” two of the copper pairs in the phone cable together to create a total of 2Mbps.

Sharedband, a company set up to deliver broadband bonding, told eWEEK in May that the technology could be an answer to serving many of Britain’s “not-spots”. The company is already providing shared broadband technology to BT Wholesale

BT Openreach is already testing BET in Inverness and Dingwall, both in Scotland, and plans to spread this to eight more UK sites, including Twyford in Berkshire, Badsey in Worcestershire, Llanfyllin in Powys, Leyland in Lancashire, Ponteland in Northumberland, Wigton in Cumbria, Horsham in West Sussex and Wymondham in Norfolk.

Although BT has argued that wired broadband is more reliable and robust than wireless – being unaffected by weather, and also cheaper-per-Mbps than 3G base stations, other options have been proposed, including Wi-Fi, which can be boosted to cover long distances, and is not subject to licence fees.

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