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BT announces first UK G.fast field trial

UK fixed line market leader BT has announced the commencement of the first UK field trial of G.fast broadband technology in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The trial will encompass two thousand premises and expects to deliver broadband download speeds of up to 330 Mbps. The TDD technology seems to be gathering momentum thanks to its potential to allow ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds without having to run fibre to the premises.

BT was keen to stress that the trial is being delivered by its Openreach wholesale division, and is thus “…open to all communications providers on equal terms.” The reason for this emphasis can presumably be traced to the prospect of Ofcom forcing BT to divest Openreach due to complaints it’s not doing a good enough job serving operators other than BT.

The delivery of faster broadband has become politicised in the UK, with the government keen to associate itself with improvements to the infrastructure. Around £1 billion of public money has been pledged to the Broadband Delivery UK project, which seems to get government ministers to the front of the queue when it comes to press quotes accompanying any developments.

“The UK already leads Europe when it comes to superfast broadband coverage and speeds, with around 40,000 more homes and businesses getting access every week thanks to the government rollout,” said Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. “We want to stay ahead of the competition and so it’s good to see this continued investment and innovation in the industry. BT is harnessing its world-class technology and engineering expertise to help the UK lead the way on ultrafast broadband and remain a world leading digital economy.”

“Today is the start of a new chapter in building Britain’s connected future. This is the largest trial of G.fast technology in the world and it builds on the pioneering research of BT’s world-class R&D teams,” said Joe Garner, CEO of Openreach. “We conducted the world’s first G.fast trial in 2013, and our experts have been heavily involved in creating global industry standards for this technology. We’re now eager to support all our service providers in learning how customers enjoy the service.

The trail, which is being conducted in partnership with Adtran, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei, is expected to last 6-9 months, after which it would be reasonable to expect another one on a larger scale.

Over in the States Comcast is hoping to upgrade its entire cable network to DOCSIS 3.1, a QAM technology that promises theoretical download speeds of up to 10 Gbps, according to a FierceCable interview. Comcast hopes to deploy the technology across its entire network within the next 2-3 years.

 

Visit the world’s leading conference and exhibition focused on fixed mobile convergence – Broadband World Forum 2015 – in London on 20-22 October.

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