BT has achieved speeds of 5Gbps using a copper connection in early lab trials of a more advanced version of G.Fast, claiming the tests show the technology is futureproof against future customer demands.
The company has been testing ‘XG.Fast’ with Alcatel Lucent at BT’s research and development facility at Adastral Park in Suffolk, with the record speed reached on a 35 metre copper cable.
BT says XG.Fast also provides a significant speed boost over longer distances, with 1.8Gbps reported over a 100m wire. Most UK properties are within this range of their nearest cabinet.
“These are exciting results,” said Mike Galvin, managing director of Next Generation Access at BT’s Technology Service & Operations division. “We know that G.fast will transform the UK’s broadband landscape but these results also give us confidence the technology has significant headroom should we need it in the future.
“The UK already boasts the biggest fibre footprint among major European nations, as well as the highest take up, but it is vital we continue to invest.
“G.fast is the ideal technology as it can be deployed at scale and speed, allowing as many people to benefit a soon as possible.”
Politicians, competitors and customers have been critical of BT’s decision to use fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) for the majority of its superfast broadband rollout, but the company has always maintained that FTTC is more appropriate, cost effective and quicker to deploy than FTTP at the present time.
“Fibre to the premises technology has a role to play – and Openreach has the largest such network in the UK – but G.fast is the answer if the UK is to have widespread and affordable ultrafast broadband sooner rather than later,” added Galvin. “Those who argue otherwise aren’t being realistic and should look at Australia where the authorities have changed tack on their fibre deployment and followed our example.”
Trials of G.Fast are taking place in Huntingdon, Cambridgshire and Gosforth in Newcastle with participants receiving 330Mbps. Another trial will start in Swansea soon and BT says it will start rolling out the technology as early as 2016 if the regulatory environment promotes investment.
This is of course a reference to Ofcom’s once-in-a-decade review of the UK communications market. BT’s rivals want Openreach to be split from BT, claiming the current structure stifles investment and hands BT an unfair advantage.
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