British fixed line incumbent BT has revealed that it has connected the first users via G.fast as part of trials of the technology. With some 2,000 homes and businesses in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire expected to be covered by the pilot programme in the coming weeks, the telco has said it is already delivering speeds of up to 330Mbps. The trial, which is being delivered by BT’s network arm Openreach, is open to all communications providers on equal terms, with the operator saying that this means people will have ‘a choice of service provider and any technological developments will benefit the wider industry’. International vendors ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei are all participating in the trial, which is expected to last for between six and nine months, with the project expected to allow Openreach and the eight other communications provider trialists to assess the technical performance of the technology across a sizeable footprint.
Looking ahead, BT has said that if its G.fast trials prove successful and should regulation continue to encourage investment, deployment of the technology could begin in 2016/17, alongside the telco’s existing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollouts. With BT saying that G.fast has the potential to bring speeds of ‘a few hundred megabits per second’ to millions of homes by 2020, it has also claimed downlink rates of up to 500Mbps for ‘most of the UK’ could be provided within a decade as the technology is developed further.
Commenting on the matter, Openreach chief executive Joe Garner said: ‘This is the largest trial of G.fast technology in the world and it builds on the pioneering research of BT’s world-class R&D teams … We conducted the world’s first G.fast trial in 2013, and our experts have been heavily involved in creating global industry standards for this technology. We’re now eager to support all our service providers in learning how customers enjoy the service.’