UK incumbent BT has set up a demonstration of 10Gbps broadband at an engineering firm in Cornwall. Electronic component manufacturer Arcol got a broadband speed boost from 1.5Mbps to 330Mbps when it subscribed to BT’s FTTP service. It was then selected by BT to try out the 10Gbps connection.
The 10Gbps connection is based on XG-PON1, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard for the next-generation of passive optical networks. This provides 10Gbps of capacity downstream and 2.5Gbps of capacity upstream, which must be shared between users on the same branch of the passive optical network.
The XG-PON test is running over a 5-km fibre link from the Truro exchange to Arcol’s premises. BT’s technology partner in the trial, ZTE, provided the equipment at the exchange and in Arcol’s office. A splitter divides the line at Arcol between the XG-PON 10Gbps line and Arcol’s 330Mbps connection.
This is a proof-of-concept trial for BT, which wants to show how its fibre network could be upgraded.
“This is a technology demonstration to show that the fibre network BT is installing is future-proofed, said Dr Raulf Scarbrough, director of the Superfast Cornwall Programme at BT Group. “It shows we don’t have to add new fibre or change the network in any way to achieve massive speeds. You just need to change the electronics at either end.”
Despite its claims, BT is not the first operator to put XG-PON through its paces. Back in 2010 Portugal Telecom used XG-PON equipment from Huawei to transmit 3D-TV signals, and US operator Verizon has also run at least two trials of prototype XG-PON equipment from different vendors over its FiOS network.
Meanwhile, BT has announced that it will slash the wholesale price of its 330Mbps FTTP service by 37%, from £60 (€75) a month to just £38 (€47) a month from June 2013. The lower price will also apply to the new FTTP on Demand (FoD) service that is due to be made available in spring 2013.
BT also revealed that communications providers are set to be charged a distance-based construction charge for FoD. The charges are currently being finalised, but as a rough guide properties around 500 metres away from BT’s fibre network can expect a charge of around £1,000 (€1,245) in addition to the installation fee of £500.
By Pauline Rigby
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