But don't hold your breath for a commercial launch…
BT has announced it will conduct a technical trial of 1Gbps fibre broadband early next year in Kesgrave, Suffolk, close to its Adastral Park research facility.
This ups the ante with ISP Virgin Media which beat BT to the fibre punch by rolling out a 50Mbps
service back in 2008, before BT announced plans for its own fibre deployment.
"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," said Olivia Garfield, BT’s director of strategy in a statement.
A BT spokeswoman confirmed no customers would be getting their hands on the 1Gbps connection but said it will be tested "in an end
user environment". The telco is aiming to test the technical limits of its fibre to the home (FTTH) broadband technology, and also establish that FTTH can support upstream speeds as high as 400Mbps.
Asked whether BT plans to deploy a 1Gbps service in future, the spokeswoman said: "It's far too early to say. Consumers simply don't require Gbps speeds today - there are no applications at the moment that require that speed."
BT has announced it will conduct a technical trial of 1Gbps fibre broadband
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)
Current generation consumer broadband routers would not be able to support 1Gbps, said the spokeswoman, adding that some kit struggles with 100Mbps.
Earlier this year BT
said it will invest £2.5bn in rolling out fibre broadband services to two-thirds of the UK by 2015, with 75 per cent of the rollout
consisting of fibre to the cabinet - with download speeds of up to 40Mbps - and a quarter getting the faster FTTH treatment.
The coalition has earmarked £530m towards upgrading the UK's broadband infrastructure within the lifetime of the current parliament. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also indicated that an additional £300m could be made available for broadband over the course of this parliament and next. If broadband funding rises to this level BT said it could extend fibre broadband coverage to up to 90 per cent of the UK.
The telco has also announced its next wave of fibre exchange upgrades will include 40 rural market towns - claiming demand for fibre in these areas has been high. It will announce the next list of fibre exchanges in January 2011.