BT Openreach, the wholesale unit of British fixed line incumbent BT, has announced that it is running a pilot of its Broadband Enabling Technology (BET), a fixed line solution designed to deliver broadband over longer distances. The company claims that the technology can deliver a stable broadband service over copper lines that are up to 12km away from the local exchange, more than double the current 5km distance-limit for traditional ADSL services. Openreach said that initial trials in Inverness and Dingwall in Scotland had been successful, with lines between 7km and 12km away from the exchange reporting stable 1Mbps download speeds. As part of the ongoing trials the operator will extend the scheme to a further eight locations across the country – Twyford, Badsey, Llanfyllin, Leyland, Ponteland, Wigton, Horsham and Wymondham – where Openreach will install BET equipment for those homes chosen to take part free of charge. The next stage of the pilot scheme will start on 30 September.
Commenting on the technology, John Small, managing director of Service Delivery for Openreach, said: ‘We’re really excited about the potential of BET to extend broadband to the remaining not-spots. Thanks to BT’s past investment, the UK already boasts world leading broadband availability. By rolling out BET, we can help customers and assist the government to realise its aim for a universal 2Mbps broadband service.’ Where a second fixed copper line is available, Openreach says that two lines can be bonded together to provide a 2Mbps connection, an option that could make the technology a viable method for attaining the state’s target of universal provision of 2Mbps services by 2012.