The lucky residents of Huntingdon, a town long seen by many as typical of Middle England, will be the first to trial G.fast, BT's latest implementation of superfast broadband.
G.fast will be rolled out to two thousand homes and businesses in the town, as part of a trial that should deliver speeds of up to 330Mbps or "more than ten times the current UK average", BT said in a statement.
The G.fast standard, which was first approved in April last year, uses time-division duplexing (TDD) as opposed to ADSL2 and VDSL2, which use frequency division duplexing. The discontinuous nature of TDD can be exploited to support low-power states, in which the transmitter and receiver remain disabled for longer intervals than would be required for alternating upstream and downstream operation.
The Huntingdon trial is delivered by BT's Openreach business, which is currently under scrutiny by telecoms regulator Ofcom. Ofcom is currently considering whether Openreach should be split off from BT to improve competition in the broadband market.
BT appears to be making a reference to this situation when talking about the future rollout of G.fast, noting: "If trials like the one in Huntingdon prove successful - and if UK regulation continues to encourage investment - Openreach aims to start deploying G.fast in 2016/17 alongside its fibre-to-the-cabinet and fibre-to-the-premises services."
According to BT, G.fast changes the way today's broadband is transmitted, delivering ultrafast speeds that currently require fibre to be run all the way to the premises (FTTP). "This is significant as it will enable Openreach to make ultrafast broadband available to a much larger number of homes and businesses, and in a shorter timeframe, than if it had focused on FTTP alone," said BT in its statement.
BT's Openreach CEO Joe Garner said that the G.fast standard will be available for all its customers including other vendors on the same basis as it is for BT.
"Our experts have been heavily involved in creating global industry standards for this technology," Garner said in a statement. "We're now eager to support all our service providers in learning how customers enjoy the service."
The trial will run for six to nine months. During this period, Openreach, "and its 8 communications provider trialists, as well as BT's R&D division", will assess the technical performance of the technology across a large footprint.