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BT promises half-Gig DSL, trials to start this Summer

final distributionn pole

via Flickr © Mini D (CC BY-SA 2.0)

BT CEO, Gavin Patterson, today announced that the UK incumbent plans to deliver what it calls ultrafast G.fast DSL and make it available to ‘most’ of the UK within the next 10 years. Two pilots are to start this Summer in the towns of Huntingdon and Gosforth and BT says it will be testing G.fast at up to 500Mbit/s. The DSL technology is designed for local loops shorter than 250 metres.

The idea, says BT, is to explore what sort of speeds can be delivered using G.fast at scale - if everything goes swimmingly well, BT says it can start deploying the technology in 2016/17.

G.fast was finally fully standardised, and the first chipsets to support it produced,  last year. Deployments are expected to start in 2016. It’s designed to facilitate data rates up to 1 gigabit per second.

BT has been testing the technology at its lab in Adastral Park in the UK and says it has  determined that it has real potential to deliver on its promise, not just from the standard street cabinets but from “other points closer to the customer”. It’s known that smaller distribution units can be hung on poles and can effectively extend the reach of the high-speed transmission beyond the 250 metre limit as set in the standard.

However, BT appears to be taking a leaf from the AT&T playbook by suggesting its continuing appetite to upgrade to faster technology is contingent on a “stable regulatory environment that supports investment,” says Gavin Patterson in the BT blurb. In other words, if BT doesn’t like the way the environment is regulated it will close the money spigot.

Could it be that the favourable regulatory environment includes allowing BT to buy EE?

One small victory: BT appears to have dropped the ‘fibre fib’ from its characterisation of its super-fast and ultra-fast DSL deployments (see - Naming and shaming: Fibre Optic Broadband is a lie BT, so change it ). We’ll have to wait to see if that re-surfaces when the consumer marketing gears up.

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