British fixed line incumbent BT has revealed that Deddington in Oxfordshire will be the first pilot location for its fibre-only exchange programme. The project, the operator says, is aimed at exploring ‘the opportunities arising from a future fibre-only world in which services over copper are replaced entirely with next generation voice and broadband services running over fibre-optic cables’.
Work on the new infrastructure will get underway in Spring 2012, via BT’s local network division Openreach, with superfast broadband speeds expected to be made to residents and businesses in Deddington from 2013 onwards. Downstream speeds are set to increase dramatically under the programme, with speeds of between 40Mbps and 300Mbps expected to be available to all premises in the village; at present top-end downlink rates are between 6Mbps and 8Mbps. Openreach has been reportedly working with the industry for several months on the technical specifications of the programme, with a view to taking a collaborative approach to the trials whereby all communications providers might benefit from the project, particularly with regards to ensuring smooth transitions from copper- to fibre-based services. BT meanwhile has noted that, once suitable voice and access fibre-based alternatives are available to all communications providers using the Openreach network, it will phase out traditional copper-based services in Deddington over a period of approximately two years.
Sean Williams, Group Strategy Director at BT said of the plans: ‘Fresh advances in technology are pushing the boundaries for new services on an almost daily basis. This is an important pilot which will help the industry better understand the opportunities arising from a fibre-only world in which traditional copper will be replaced by the super-fast capabilities of fibre-optic cable.’