BT dusts off the history books for new ultrafast broadband plan

BT thinks it has stumbled upon a way to deliver ultrafast broadband over something invented way back in the 1800s – copper wires.

Related: New broadband standard offers fibre optic speeds across copper phoneline

New research released by the telecommunications giant claims that combined downstream and upstream speeds of up to 1Gbps can be delivered by using a mixture of copper and fibre-optic wiring.

The technology in question is known as Fibre To The Distribution Point [FTTdp] or “G.Fast” and sees fibre rolled out to telephone poles and junctions boxes located close to homes and businesses.

G.Fast trials found that downstream speeds of 800Mbps combined with an upstream speed of 200Mbps were achievable over a 19m length of copper wiring and speeds of 700/200Mbps were reached over longer 66m lines that are present on 80 per cent of all connections.

FTTdp is different to Fibre to the Premises [FTTP] and Fibre to the Cabinet [FTTC] technology in that it is closer to the premises than FTTC plus it has the potential to deliver a more cost effective product than FTTP or dedicated Ethernet lines.

“We see G.Fast as a very promising technology with significant potential – that’s why we’re putting some of our best minds on the case to assess it fully in a purpose-built facility,” said Dr Tim Whitley, MD of Research and Innovation, BT Group.

The facility, at the BT Adastral Park R&D centre in Ipswich, will study the full technical capabilities of G.Fast hardware over the coming months with products from various vendors including Adtran, Alcatel Lucent and Huawei.

The United Nations telecoms regulator first approved G.Fast technology in July 2013 and at the time Alcatel Lucent and Telekom Austria managed to achieve speeds of around 1.1Gbps over 70m of cabling – faster than what BT thinks it can achieve.

Related: ‘Malicious attack’ on BT network leaves thousands of homes without phone or broadband

All BT has to worry about now is thieves running away with its precious copper wiring.Porthole Ad