DECEMBER 3, 2010 — BT says it plans to test gigabit broadband speeds over a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Kesgrave, Suffolk early next year. The UK incumbent added that it will include up to 40 rural market towns in the next phase of its deployment of super-fast fiber broadband.
The technical trial aims to demonstrate the maximum speed capabilities of BT’s FTTP product. In addition to the 1-Gbps download rate, the trial also should see upload speeds of 400 Mbps, BT says. These speeds are 10X faster than BT’s current FTTP product, which is set to launch commercially next year.
Olivia Garfield, BT’s director of strategy, said: “We intend to continually push the limits of our super-fast broadband program in terms of the technology and the geography. While everyday consumers don’t require gigabit speeds today, it’s important that we test the maximum speed capabilities of our fiber broadband product to ensure that it is fully future proofed.”
Meanwhile, BT says that “selected market towns where premises and cabinets are suitably clustered will now be eligible for fiber deployment.” BT has identified up to 40 rural market towns that meet this requirement and could be included in the next phase of the company’s fiber broadband rollout. BT plans to announce the next list of FTTP exchanges in January 2011, with a goal towards service delivery beginning in late 2011 or early 2012.
BT also reiterated its commitment to spend £2.5 billion to roll out FTTP to two-thirds of the UK by 2015. It also says it is working with Government to find ways to fiber the remaining third.
“By evolving our deployment model for fiber we have been able to push the geographical boundaries of super-fast broadband,” Garfield commented. “It allows us to build a commercial case for rolling out fiber to selected towns in rural areas to satisfy the growing appetite for faster broadband speeds. Both of these developments will further advance BT’s super-fast broadband vision and will assist the Government in achieving its aim of creating the best super-fast broadband network in Europe.”
BT’s FTTP announcements come ahead of a major broadband speech Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt is scheduled to deliver December 6. The Government has indicated it will make £830 million available over the course of this parliament and the next for broadband deployment.