Telecoms company BT has announced that it will begin trialling fibre-based broadband connections of up to 1Gbps from next year, as well as extending the roll-out of its existing fibre packages.
The high-speed technical trial will begin early in 2011 in Kesgrave, Suffolk. Using BT's fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure the company hopes it will deliver upload speeds of up to 400Mbps and download speeds of 1Gbps.
1Gbps download speeds far exceed residential fibre-connections currently available in the UK — such as Virgin Media's 100Mbps service which was announced at the end of October — and the government's target of providing 2Mbps connections for the whole of the country by 2015.
"While everyday consumers don't require Gigabit speeds today, it's important that we test the maximum speed capabilities of our fibre broadband product to ensure that it is fully future proofed," BT's director of strategy Olivia Garfield, said in a statement. "Furthermore, by evolving our deployment model for fibre we have been able to push the geographical boundaries of super-fast broadband. It allows us to build a commercial case for rolling out fibre to selected towns in rural areas to satisfy the growing appetite for faster broadband speeds."
BT also announced that "up to" another 40 other rural market towns will be included in the next deployment of its existing fibre services. Details of exactly which exchanges are set to be unveiled in January and customers are expected to start receiving service in late 2011 or early 2012.
On 24 November BT announced that it was introducing new packages for wholesale customers that would allow them to resell fibre connections with download speeds as low as 5Mbps. Previously, the lowest possible fibre speed available from BT's wholesale fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) products was 15Mbps.
BT also signed a £1.2m deal with Avanti Communications on 30 November that will use the recently launched Hylas 1 satellite to provide broadband internetconnectivity for areas of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.