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Openreach expands ultrafast broadband trial, brings free fibre to new-build homes

Thursday, March 10th 2016 by Hannah Langston

Openreach has announced the expansion of trials of its ‘G.Fast’ ultrafast broadband technology, as part of plans to bring faster broadband to more consumers and businesses.

The network infrastructure company has also committed to building fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure into new housing developments that have more than 250 premises, free of charge.

The rollout of G.Fast – a combination of fibre and conventional copper wires – will see ultrafast speeds of between 300Mbps–500Mbps, usually only achievable through pure fibre, delivered all the way into a premises.

Openreach has today added two new pilot sites – in Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire and in Gillingham, Kent – to the G.Fast trial programme.

Work on the pilots will begin soon, according to Openreach. Once the infrastructure has been built, 25,000 homes and businesses in the two areas will be able to access faster download speeds.

The company will also conduct two new trials of Business Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology in Bradford – providing ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbps in the city’s Kirkgate High Street and Listerhills Science Park.

High speeds for everyone

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said: “The UK is a leader when it comes to superfast broadband. Nine out of ten premises have access to fibre today and this will grow to 95% by the end of next year – but I want to get high speeds to everyone, so we’re also developing solutions for the final five per cent of the country.

“I’m determined to roll out ultrafast broadband, and G.fast technology is the best way to deliver that to the majority of the UK as quickly as possible. We also plan to roll out significantly more fibre-to-the-premises, and we’re trialling a range of options in Bradford to use that technology increasingly in future – wherever it makes sense.

Openreach also announced fibre-to-the-premises broadband (FTTP) will be built free of charge to new housing developments with more than 250 premises.

This follows an investigation by Cable.co.uk in January that highlighted the lack of adequate broadband connections in new-build properties.

In February, the government announced a deal with Openreach and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to help improve superfast broadband connectivity to new-build properties in the UK.

Commenting on Openreach’s plans, Mr Selley added: “A large number of new housing developments will also get fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure built for free under our latest plans, so that’s great news for developers and homeowners too.”

Openreach has committed to delivering ultrafast broadband to 10 million premises by 2020 and to the majority of the UK within a decade (subject to a supportive regulatory environment).

Its superfast broadband network currently covers over 24 million premises and it has the largest FTTP network in the UK.

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