BT has announced its latest plans for superfast broadband in the UK, including a trial of 1Gb/s residential fibre broadband in Kesgrave, Suffolk.
According to the company, the aim of the technical trial is to demonstrate the maximum speeds possible using its Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) product. These speeds are claimed to be 1Gbps downstream and 400Mb/s upstream to both businesses and consumers. These speeds are ten times faster than BT’s initial FTTP service which is due to launch in the UK in 2011.
In addition, BT has also said it will include up to 40 rural market towns in the next phase of exchanges listed for upgrade to superfast fibre broadband.
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Virgin Media 100Mbps is fastest broadband
1Gbps broadband will provide speeds ten times faster than the current fastest broadband service – Virgin Media’s 100Mbps which was announced at the end of October. It also puts into perspective the government’s target of providing just 2Mbps broadband across the UK by 2015.
Olivia Garfield, BT’s director of strategy, said: ‘We intend to continually push the limits of our super-fast broadband programme in terms of the technology and the geography. 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.
‘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. Both of these developments will further advance BT’s super-fast broadband vision and will assist the Government in achieving its aim of creating the best super-fast broadband network in Europe.’
Practical benefits of superfast broadband
Which? broadband expert Ceri Stanaway commented: ‘For many of us, particularly those who live in parts of the UK that struggle to get even 1Mbps broadband, it’s tough to get our heads around the concept of broadband reaching 1Gbps. And given that most of us currently use our broadband services mainly for email and web browsing, it’s hard to anticipate the possible practical benefits of 1Gbps speed over 100Mbps – which in real terms equates to the difference between downloading a typical music track in half a second or a twentieth of a second.
‘BT has said its trial is to test the theoretical maximum speeds available over its fibre broadband network – not part of a plan to roll out 1Gbps across the UK. Having said that, ten years back the prospect of watching TV online according to our own schedule would have seemed miraculous to many, so who knows what the future of broadband services may hold that might genuinely demand 1Gbps speeds.’
When you are choosing your broadband provider it’s important to consider value for money, customer service and connection reliability as well as speed. Find out how Which? members rated the top broadband providers for each in the Which? broadband review.
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