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10 February 2015

From superfast to ultrafast: BT poised to transform the UK’s broadband landscape

superfast to ultrafast

BT’s chief executive Gavin Patterson has set out plans for the company to deliver much faster broadband for the nation’s homes and small businesses.

Widespread deployment of an innovative technology known as G.fast will be deployed giving ultrafast speeds of up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade.

The company will run two G.fast pilots before a roll-out begins in 2016/17 - subject to the pilots being successful.

Early tests show G.fast is capable of delivering a range of speeds depending on how close the technology is to a customer’s premises. BT expects to offer initial speeds of a few hundred megabits per second to millions of homes and businesses by 2020.

Speeds will then increase to around 500Mbps as further industry standards are secured and new kit is developed.

“BT is a world leader when it comes to fibre innovation and we are excited about the next stage in our story,” said Gavin Patterson.

“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.”

Building on investment

He added: “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.”

The two pilots will start this summer in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Gosforth, Newcastle. Around 4,000 homes and businesses will be able to participate in the pilots which will explore what speeds can be delivered using G.fast at scale.

Recent tests

The pilots will build on recent tests at BT’s innovation centre at Adastral Park, Suffolk. 

These have shown that G.fast has the potential to deliver significant speed increases from existing and new fibre street cabinets as well as from other points closer to the customer. This is an important development as it means the technology can be deployed in a more efficient and rapid manner than previously thought.

BT is likely to deploy G.fast from various points in the network, with the pilots allowing it to assess various roll-out options. It is also planning to develop a premium fibre broadband service for those residential and business customers who want even faster broadband, of up to 1Gbps.