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First customer goes live on 100Mbps fibre trial

A PlusNet customer has reported a 77Mbps downlink and 15Mbps uplink after being connected to BT's fibre-to-the-premises trial in Milton Keynes
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The BT-owned ISP PlusNet has claimed the first customer to go live on BT's fibre-to-the-premises fast broadband trial.

PlusNet customer 'herbiejhopkins' was connected on Tuesday morning, achieving a 77Mbps downlink and 15Mbps uplink, according to a blog post from the company. The latter figure is the maximum uplink available in the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) trial, but the maximum theoretical downlink is 100Mbps.

"So far the connection has been 100 percent stable, no problems to report," the user reported on PlusNet's forum on Wednesday morning. "A huge upgrade to my 2Mbps ADSL2+."

The customer lives in Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes, where PlusNet has another "dozen customers lined up... to go on the trial", the company said. Some residents of London's Highams Park area will get their chance to hook up in the next few weeks.

After a six-month delay, BT is reviving its brownfield FTTP trials, which take place in existing neighbourhoods, as opposed to 'greenfield' trials in new-build areas. The hold-up was the result of BT's "learnings" from earlier technical trials, the company said in its announcement on Tuesday.

The maximum downlink speed offered to those not taking part in BT's FTTP and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) trials is around 24Mbps. FTTC offers up to 40Mbps. Rival provider Virgin Media offers up to 50Mbps, although it has said it will roll out up-to-100Mbps cable services later this year.

"Is 100Mbps overkill?" Dave Tomlinson of the PlusNet product team asked in the company's blog post. "What will people find to do with 100Mbps? It's hard to say, from an application point of view, what services will make best use of speeds that high. File downloads will benefit, of course, and the faster upload will really help people that send large files or host services.

"Our first thoughts on the faster downloads will be the benefits it gives to people with slower speeds. For those with speeds under 2-3Mbps on DSL, the difference will be huge," he added. "Where in the past they may have struggled to watch online video, for example, they can now watch iPlayer HD with ease and also download files at the same time and have someone else in the household play games or watch another HD stream at the same time."

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