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New BT lab to continue ultrafast broadband trials in Swansea

Thursday, May 21st 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A lab in Swansea's BT Tower will help unlock the potential of a new technology capable of delivering broadband speeds up to 500Mbps.

BT has been testing G.fast technology at its labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk, and has already announced that further trials will take place in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

It has also confirmed that Swansea will also be among the first locations to benefit from G.fast.

The trials will be led by Openreach, the part of the BT group responsible for network maintenance, and will be open to all internet service providers.

The technical trial will focus on how G.fast can be used to serve blocks of flats and business premises, both of which present unique challenges that differ from ordinary residential deployments.

Around 100 premises will be selected to take part in the trial, based on technical criteria.

The new G.fast test lab in Swansea’s BT Tower (pictured) will allow academic researchers, start-ups and other communications providers to trial new technologies and applications that exploit the higher speeds provided by G.fast.

Mike Galvin, managing director of service, strategy and operations at BT, said: “BT’s research into ultrafast ‘G.fast’ technology is now moving out of the labs and into the field.

“Wales is an excellent location to trial cutting-edge new broadband technologies, and we’re delighted that the Welsh Government and The City of Swansea will play such a key role.”

He said the trials will ultimately be of benefit to the whole of the UK and help the country’s communications services “remain among the best in the world”.

'High-tech'

He added: “Our technical trial will allow us to evaluate the best way of delivering ultrafast speeds to flats and business premises nationwide.”

Sir Terry Matthews, chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region Board, added: “I am particularly pleased with the alignment this decision has with a new Computational Foundry being implemented at the University of Swansea.

“The combination creates a platform for the emergence of a new high-tech ecosystem in the region, one that is sure to spawn a range of innovative new start-up companies, technologies, products and services.”

Welsh Government economy minister Edwina Hart said: “Wales has a strong record of innovation and a thriving technology sector so it is appropriate Swansea has been selected for this trial of the next generation of broadband.

“Amongst a range of other initiatives we have put in place to support growth in the digital economy we are already working with BT to roll-out Superfast Broadband to homes and businesses across Wales.

“Ultrafast broadband could eventually deliver even more benefits to drive economic growth and create jobs.”

The trial in Swansea will build on the existing investment BT has made in fibre infrastructure in the city.

Approximately 83% of the Swansea local authority area already has access to fibre when both BT’s commercial and Superfast Cymru’s roll out are combined.

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