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BT confirms ultrafast broadband trial in Swansea

Wednesday, April 22nd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

BT is to add Swansea to the list of test locations for its ‘ultrafast’ G.fast technology, it has confirmed.

The telecoms giant has already confirmed that G.fast – a combination of fibre and conventional copper wires – will be tested in two pilot locations this summer.

And it has now confirmed that it will carry out a third trial in the South Wales city of Swansea.

It is expected to be “technically-focused” rather than a large-scale residential trial, and comes ahead of the predicted deployment of the technology in 2016.

Announcing a rollout of G.fast in January, BT said it 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.

Pilots are set to take place in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and Gosforth, Newcastle, with around 4,000 homes and businesses helping to explore what speeds can be delivered using G.fast at scale.

Tests at BT’s innovation centre at Adastral Park, Suffolk, have shown that the technology 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.

Confirming the possibility of Swansea as a third location, a BT spokesperson said: “We are looking at the possibility of conducting a technically-focused G.fast trial in Swansea, drawing on our expertise and experience in South Wales, rather than a large-scale residential trial.

“We will reveal more details in due course.”

Ultrafast speeds

Announcing the previous G.fast trials, BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: “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.”

He said the UK is ahead of other European countries “when it comes to broadband” and needs 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,” he added. “It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast in the quickest possible timeframe.”

But Gigabit broadband providers previously told Cable.co.uk that G.fast is "simply not viable for the kind of speeds the country needs to be economically successful".

BT’s first results of its G.fast trials showed downstream speeds of around 800Mbps and upload speeds of more than 200Mbps could be achieved over a length of copper measuring 19m.

In addition, download and upload speeds of about 700Mbps and 200Mbps respectively were recorded over 66m.

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