It's a big week for BT. After rolling out the first ultra high-definition entertainment bundle, it's now getting ready to start testing 500Mbps broadband next month.
The broadband technology is called G.fast, and around 2,000 participants are expected to be involved.
BT Openreach told ISPreview (opens in new tab)that the trial would begin in August and take place in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, Gosforth in the Northeast of England, and Swansea. Various ISPs will be invited to participate.
“As you’d expect the purpose of the first trial is simply to test the deployment processes and the technology itself, as well as the speeds and experiences it delivers for customers”, ISPreview says, adding that it’s unlikely to see any preliminary pricing details or results until well after the summer.
According to Stuff.tv (opens in new tab), the installation of the new technology also means setting up more street cabinets:
“G.fast works in much the same way as Openreach’s current 80Mbps capable FTTC service, but requires more radio spectrum and therefore needs to work over shorter runs of copper cable – apparently 350m is the ideal limit,” it says in the report.
We won’t see the commercial rollout of the new technology before 2016, and even when we get to that point, the speeds will probably be capped at about 300Mbps, at least at start.
BT’s eventual aim is to make 500Mbps broadband available to “most homes” in the UK. At present, the fastest consumer broadband available in the UK is Virgin's 152Mbps service, followed by BT Infinity and Plusnet's 76Mbps services.