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September 26, 2014
BT has revealed the results of its G.fast technology field trial showing combined downstream and upstream speeds of 1Gbps can be delivered via fibre-copper mix.
The UK telco giant is due to open a new ultrafast broadband lab at its Adastral Park R&D centre. It said the potential of Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) G.fast technology is very encouraging.
“BT has a long history of pushing the boundaries in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today’s global fibre networks, and it’s crucial that we stay ahead of the curve for the benefit of our customers and shareholders,” said Tim Whitley, Managing Director of Research and Innovation, BT.
Traditionally ‘ultrafast’ broadband requires a dedicated business line or a fibre optic cable to be laid out all the way to the premises, in other words Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). FTTdp G.fast technology uses fibre up to a telephone pole or junction box located near the home or business, from where it travels via copper, still maintaining a high speed. Because installing fibre all the way to the premises is usually inherent with high expense and a lot of difficult work, the industry has long been looking to overcome this problem with a technology that can bring fibre-only speeds to fibre-copper mix.
During the trials, BT reported downstream speeds of around 800Mbps over 19metres of copper, combined with upstream speeds of over 200Mbps. 700/200Mbps were also achieved over 66 metres, a distance approximately 80% of such connections according to BT. BT also said the technology allows flexibility to tailor the combined 1Gbps according to user needs.
“Our fibre rollout is making a huge positive difference to this country, already helping 82% of people have access to superfast broadband,” said Joe Graner, CEO of Opeanreach, the infrastructure division of BT.
“Businesses obviously demand even greater bandwidth and can already access speeds of up to 10Gbps via dedicated business lines that we provide across the country. But customer needs will continue to change, and that’s why we’re deploying a mix of current technologies as well as testing new ones. We will continue to innovate so that we meet our customers’ needs today, and in the future.”
But as BT admitted, G.fast, developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is a immature technology, with the G.9701 recommendation expected to be approved in December and the entire standard sometime in 2015.
“While G.fast technology is impressive in a test environment, bringing it to reality will require significant investment in street cabinets and will be limited to high density areas,” said Dana Tobak, Managing Director of Hyperoptic, a London-based fibre-based internet service provider. “No need to wait for G.fast – these areas are being upgraded today by Gigabit providers like ourselves. The future of broadband is FTTP, extending the life of copper is a costly exercise that is just delaying the inevitable.”
As senior writer for Telecoms.com, Auri’s primary focus is on operators but she also writes across the board the telecoms industry, including technologies and the vendors that produce them. She also writes for Mobile Communications International magazine, which is published every quarter.
Auri has a background as an ICT researcher and business-to-business journalist, previously focusing on the European ICT channels-to-market for seven years.
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