G.Fast broadband technology speeds into field trials

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/eelnosiva)

A promising new ultrafast broadband technology which uses existing copper infrastructure has entered field trials in the UK and could deliver speeds up to 330 Mbps at launch, with up to 500 Mbps possible "within a decade" as it becomes more developed. 

The exciting technology, dubbed G.Fast, has entered a field trial in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Two thousand homes and businesses are expected to benefit from BT's pioneering trial in the coming weeks and, if successful, it will expand to further trials in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Swansea from September. 

Joe Garner, CEO Openreach 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." 

BT first ran a G.Fast trial back in 2013 alongside the test of another future enhancement called 'Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point' (FTTdp) but deep within the bowels of their Adastral Park R&D facility near Ipswich in Suffolk. This is the first trial which BT has conducted in the field. 

Garner continues: “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.” 

G.Fast uses a fast link from a specially-equipped cabinet to a distribution point, then employs noise cancelling between the distribution point and the home so that the speed can be boosted without the old copper having to be ripped out. This should increase the speed of deployment, and reduce the cost of installing new infrastructure. 

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: "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." 

BT has used several international vendors in their test of G.Fast including equipment from ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, and Huawei. The company is also working alongside chipset manufacturers and global standards bodies to advance the technology and increase its speed and performance. 

For more information, visit: www.ultrafast-openreach.co.uk. 

Do you think G.Fast is showing promise for ultrafast broadband? Let us know in the comments.

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