BT announces G.fast trials, aims to bring blistering broadband speeds to UK

BT has announced that it will begin trialling G.fast technology in the UK this summer, the system it hopes will transform the country’s superfast broadband into ultrafast.

G.fast is capable of delivering a broadband connection over a traditional copper wire but with far greater speed over a short distance, meaning that it can be used over the last leg from the fibre cabinet to effectively deliver full fibre speeds to the home, but without having a direct FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) connection and all the hassle and expense that entails in terms of digging things up.

BT reckons that G.fast, in combination with its fibre rollout, will see speeds of up to 500Mbps coming to British homes eventually – within a decade, the company estimates. To begin with, initial deployments are expected to begin either next year or 2017 (depending on how the trials go), with speeds of a few hundred Mbps to become available by 2020.

Those initial pilot schemes will take place this summer in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and Gosforth, Newcastle, with 4,000 homes and businesses being eligible to partake in the ultrafast testing.

BT’s fibre network currently reaches around 22 million premises across the UK, and the company also says it will be developing a premium fibre broadband service to offer a blistering 1Gbps to business and residential customers who want the absolute fastest speeds.

CEO of BT Gavin Patterson commented: “We believe G.fast is the key to unlocking ultrafast speeds and we are prepared to upgrade large parts of our network should the pilots prove successful. That upgrade will depend however on there continuing to be a stable regulatory environment that supports investment.

“The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to broadband and we need to stay ahead as customer demands evolve. G.fast will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date. It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast in the quickest possible timeframe.”