BT runs 50Mbps broadband trial


BT has begun a pilot of its next generation high-speed broadband network following a successful early trial in Foxhall, Ipswich.

The pilot began July 6 in Muswell Hill in London and Whitchurch in Wales, with each location covering over 15,000 premises, around 100 green street ‘cabinets’ in total. Four Openreach and 12 BT Wholesale customers signed up to participate in the pilot.

The trial, which started in Foxhall in January this year, saw over 50 homes connected, with 50Mbps as the highest broadband speed rolled out. BT said the technology performed as expected with positive indicators for future speed enhancements.

The early market deployment of FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) will take place in early 2010 with up to 500,000 premises passed, including urban and rural locations. BT said accelerated market deployment of FTTC may take place in March 2010.

Openreach managing director for next-generation access David Campbell said that although new street cabinets would be needed, relatively little digging of roads will be required.

He added ISP customers involved in the FTTC trials include Carphone Warehouse and O2.

BT is also deploying FTTP (fibre-to-the-premise) in Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent, where the first customers were connected in September 2008. Up to 40,000 homes have been proposed for a pilot in March 2010 in two areas with 100Mbps headline speed, with higher speed potential in the future.

Pricing for the trial will not be announced until the end of the month, with BT strategy and portfolio group director Liv Garfield (pictured) stating that this will “depend on market take up, usage levels and what backhaul consumption we see.”

FTTP and FTTC are the two main ways that Openreach will introduce fibre optic technology into BT’s access network. FTTP is an all-fibre solution and FTTC is fibre that will be deployed from the exchange to the street cabinet in parallel to existing copper.