BT rolling out UK's fastest broadband from next year

Followed by premium 1Gbps service for fancy folk

BT

Speed demons will be on red alert following BT's announcement that it plans to roll out "ultrafast" broadband capable of hitting a top download speed of 500Mbps from 2016.

Looking to go one better than today's "superfast" packages, BT says that its new "innovative" G.fast tech will be rolled out to most of the UK within a decade. It will be followed by a premium fibre broadband service offering download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

BT has been cooking up faster fibre in its Suffolk-based labs and will launch two pilots this summer in Huntington, Cambridgshire and Gosforth, Newcastle that will be open to around 4,000 local homes and businesses.

Should they prove successful, BT will deploy the tech starting 2016. BT says that G.fast has potential to deliver speed boosts to its fibre-optic network using existing fibre street cabinets and other points closer to customers.

Speaking to TechRadar, a BT spokesperson said that it would be fair to describe G.fast as "a supercharged fibre-to-the-cabinet" (FTTC) method of deploying broadband to premises, which involves leading fibre-optic cables from a telephone exchange to a street cabinet.

Pole position

He said: "G.fast was originally designed as a technology able to be used from telegraph poles, but you'd be looking at rolling it out to more than four million of them, which would be challenging.

"In our breakthrough tests we discovered that we can deliver high speeds from cabinet locations and have spent the last five years or so building out a lot of fibre street cabinets as part of our fiber investment program. We now believe that we can essentially upgrade that network, with potentially some sort of additional infrastructure to help deliver the kinds of speeds we're talking about."

BT, which has also announced that its fibre-optic broadband network now reaches three quarters of the UK, currently offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps through its FTTC broadband packages. It also offers on-demand FTTC services in certain locations that can reach up to 330Mbps.

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