UK braces itself for ultra-fast broadband following successful trial

Yellow Green FibreBT is to carry out further trials that could see ultra-fast fibre broadband piped directly into homes and businesses if people request it.

Currently, much of BT’s fibre broadband network is based on Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology. The fibre stops at street cabinets and then the connection is taken into homes and businesses using the exiting copper phone wire connection.

But a successful trial in St Agnes, Cornwall, suggests that additional fibre can now be run ‘on demand’ into a home or business.

Effectively, this transforms super-fast FTTC into ultra-fast Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) broadband.

Dubbed “FTTP on demand”, this has the potential to supercharge the UK’s broadband landscape.

This is because FTTP – which will soon offer speeds of up to 300 Mbps - could be made available anywhere in BT’s fibre footprint if people want it.

Thanks to the success of the St Agnes pilot, BT intends to conduct further trials of ‘FTTP on demand’ this summer. If successful, BT plans to make the service commercially available to all communications providers by spring 2013.

Openreach chief executive Olivia Garfield said: “FTTP on demand is a significant development for Broadband Britain. Essentially, it could make our fastest speeds available wherever we deploy fibre. This will be welcome news for small businesses who may wish to benefit from the competitive advantage that such speeds provide.

“We are also doubling the speed of our standard fibre broadband this spring giving ISPs the chance to offer speeds of up to 80Mbps. This will ensure that residential customers have world class speeds for all their family’s needs,” she said.

The announcement came as BT revealed more than seven million premises can now access fibre broadband over its network.