Households in the Cambridgeshire town of Huntingdon are taking part in a trial which could lead to a significant boost in UK broadband speeds.
BT’s Openreach division is testing the real-world performance of G.fast, a new technology which can deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps over the firm’s existing fibre and copper network. Earlier tests at BT’s R&D facility suggested the technology is capable of matching speeds only otherwise achievable by having a direct fibre connection to each home.
The trial is open to all communications providers using the Openreach network and BT says if it’s successful, and regulatory permission is given, G.fast based packages could be available from next year.
Consumer benefits of the faster speeds could include being able to live ultra-high-definition 4K video content to multiple devices at once while simultaneously browsing the web, uploading videos, or playing online games.
Joe Garner, Openreach CEO, said: “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.
“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 people of Huntingdon will play an extremely important role in helping us gauge how the technology performs, and how we might deliver ultrafast speeds to more of the UK over the coming years.”
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale commented: “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.
“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.”