Openreach – BT’s local access network division – has announced it is to trial fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) technology in “brownfield” sites for the first time. The trials will begin in January 2010.
Two locations – Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes and Highams Park, London – have been selected for the trial, which will see speeds of up to 100Mb/s delivered to up to 20,000 homes and businesses in each area by March 2010. The trial products will be available to all UK communications providers on an open, wholesale basis.
The trial forms part of BT’s plans to deliver super-fast broadband speeds to 10 million premises by 2012, using a combination of FTTP and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology. The company has already pledged to make such services available to 1.5m homes by next summer.
Openreach is already delivering the highest residential broadband speeds in the UK at a “greenfield” housing development in Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent. Customers in this area are currently experiencing downstream speeds of up to 100Mb/s using FTTP technology.
Openreach will now trial FTTP to brownfield developments for the first time, to enhance its understanding of the performance of the technology and the economics involved when rolling out fibre directly to premises in areas where copper services are already available.
A mix of FTTC and FTTP technologies will be deployed in BT’s super-fast broadband roll-out, with FTTC expected to be the most widely deployed technology. FTTC will deliver downstream speeds of up to 40Mb/s, potentially rising to more than 60Mb/s in the future.
Customers using both the FTTP and FTTC products will also receive the highest upstream speeds currently available in the UK, at up to 10Mb/s. These speeds are ideal for consumers or businesses wanting to send large files with rich graphics or upload pictures and videos in a fraction of the time that is possible using products with slower speeds.
David Campbell, Managing Director of Next Generation Access, Openreach, said, “This trial is crucial for informing our plans to consider deploying FTTP alongside FTTC. Our FTTP deployment in Ebbsfleet has allowed us to learn a great deal about rolling out fibre directly to homes in greenfield areas and we believe that the technology has huge potential for brownfield areas too. We’ve worked closely with communications providers and regional development authorities in selecting these sites for the FTTP brownfield trial, and I’d like to encourage as many communications providers as possible to get involved in the trial.”