BT Openreach began the first public trials of a new broadband technology called G.fast yesterday. Two thousand homes and businesses in Huntingdon, Cambs will be covered by the trial in the coming weeks. Headline speeds of up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps), more than ten times the current UK average according to BT, will be available to trial guinea pigs.
G.fast technology aims to provide ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds without having to run fibre directly to the premises. The first practical trials of the tech were completed in 2013, at BT's Adastral Park R&D facility, and since that time BT and Openreach R&D teams have been preparing for public trials.
Thanks to the cheaper and faster to deploy G.fast technology BT believes that it will be able "to make speeds of a few hundred megabits per second available to millions of homes by 2020 and deliver up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade". The increase in speeds, approaching 500Mbps, will be thanks to the G.fast technology being further developed and maturing.
The Huntingdon G.fast trials will run for six to nine months. The tech will be tested by residents, eight communications provider trialists, and of course BT R&D boffins. "The people of Huntingdon will play an extremely important role in helping us gauge how the technology performs, and how we might deliver ultrafast speeds to more of the UK over the coming years," said Joe Garner, CEO of Openreach. The privileged few of Huntingdon will have access to internet speeds which will facilitate streaming "live ultra-high-definition 4K video content to multiple devices at once, all whilst simultaneously browsing the web, uploading videos and photos, or playing online games," claims the BT press release.
Other companies involved in the trials include international vendors such as ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei. Chipset manufacturers and global standards bodies will also be following these G.fast technology trials closely.