BT will deploy G.fast in 2016-17 if trial is successful

BT Openreach (NYSE: BT) said that if its latest G.fast trial in Huntingdon is successful and if Ofcom regulation is favorable towards new investments it will deploy the technology over the next two years as a complement to its fiber-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services.

The service provider has put a foundation in place to begin its G.fast trial in Huntingdon, equipping 2,000 homes and business with up to 330 Mbps broadband over the next weeks over its existing copper network.

Set to run for six to nine months, the trial will give Openreach and its eight wholesale ISP trial participants as well as BT's R&D division the ability to assess how the technology performed across a large footprint. It will use various deployment methods to gain insight into how the G.Fast technology can be used on a day-to-day basis, including how usage might grow over time.

While actual speeds delivered will vary according to the state of the copper plant in each operating area, the telco said that G.fast will enable it to make speeds of a few hundred megabits per second available to millions of homes by 2020 and deliver up to 500 Mbps to most of the UK within a decade as the technology is developed further.

During the trial, BT is leveraging equipment from Adtran, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei, while working with silicon vendors and various standards bodies to drive awareness of G.fast technology

Having a copper-based higher speed service will enable BT Openreach and its wholesale customers to more effectively compete with cable rivals like Virgin Media, whose fastest fiber-based broadband service is 152 Mbps.

While this G.fast trial is new, BT is no stranger to this technology, having conducted its first trial of the technology in 2013.

In a subsequent trial it conducted in 2014, the telco said it achieved downstream speeds of about 800 Mbps and upstream speeds of over 200 Mbps over a 19 meter length of existing copper. On longer lines of 66 meters, a distance that it says encompasses about 80 percent of such connections, the telco reported speeds of around 700/200 Mbps.

While G.fast represents the latest and greatest of next-gen copper technologies, it is only one that it is trialing to get more juice out of its existing copper lines. The service provider conducted the second phase of its VDSL vectoring trial in August 2014, which it claims could enhance the speeds of its "up to" 80 Mbps-capable FTTC network.

BT's latest G.fast trial comes at a time when Ofcom has floated the idea of mandating that BT sell off its wholesale Openreach division. Such a move has been applauded by Openreach customers, including Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone, which purchase wholesale access from Openreach. According to various reports, these companies claim that Openreach provides poor service and the revenue Openreach generates gives BT an "unfair advantage" over other providers.

For more:
- see the release
- V3.co.uk has this article

Related articles:
BT achieves 1 Gig rates with G.Fast copper trial, creates new broadband lab
BT hopes to lure new customers with ADSL2+ broadband promotions
Ciena furthers Ethernet influence at BT Openreach
BT Openreach begins latest VDSL vectoring field trial

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