broadbandA variation on the telco industry’s G.fast ultra-fast broadband technology, XG.FAST has surpassed expectations in early lab tests at BT’s global R&D campus at Adastral Park and Alcatel-Lucent’s labs in Antwerp, Belgium. BT and Alcatel Lucent R&D teams sent and received data at speeds of more than 5 Gbps in experimental XG.FAST lab trials, according to a BT news release.

Results to date have given BT the confidence to state that G.fast is ¨a future-proof technology¨ that will help the U.K. maintain a leadership position among G20 digital economies.

XG.FAST Speeds
The ultra-fast broadband XG.FAST variant delivered aggregate speeds of 5.6 Gbps over 35 meters of BT copper cable in early tests, a record for full-duplex data transmission over a standard single BT line at that distance, BT noted.

In addition, XG.FAST registered aggregate speeds of 1.8 Gbps over 100 meters. That’s significant in that most U.K. homes are within 100 meters of their local distribution point, such as a pole or footway box, BT pointed out.

¨We know that G.fast will transform the U.K.’s broadband landscape but these results also give us confidence the technology has significant headroom should we need it in the future,¨ Mike Galvin, managing director of Next Generation Access for BT’s Technology Service & Operations division was quoted as saying. “These are exciting results.¨

BT has been contributing to G.fast’s development since 2007, joining with other leading telcos to research and develop the technology as a means to further leverage their copper network infrastructure and investments and avoid the time, cost and problems associated with laying fiber to homes and other premises.

In addition, BT and its telco peers are looking to G.fast as a means of competing against the cable industry’s emerging DOCSIS 3.1 ultra-fast broadband standard, as well as a means by which to foster greater subscriber satisfaction and loyalty.

BT Plans
BT is wagering G.fast can serve as the core digital data distribution technology for Openreach, its local access network business, the company elaborated. Openreach trials in progress in two smaller local service territories (Huntingdon and Gosforth) have delivered data at 330 Mbps downstream – ten times the U.K.’s national average.

Looking forward, BT management expects Openreach will deliver ultra-fast broadband access to 10 million premises by year-end 2020 and to most of the U.K. by year-end 2025.

G.fast and Openreach complement BT’s ¨Fiber to the Cabinet¨ technology and add to the company’s ultra-fast broadband services line-up, which also includes FTTP and dedicated business lines available across the U.K. that are already capable of delivering data at speeds of up to 100 Gbps, BT added.

“The U.K. already boasts the biggest fiber footprint among major European nations, as well as the highest take-up, but it is vital we continue to invest,¨ Galvin commented. ¨That is why we have announced plans to get ultra-fast broadband to ten million premises by the end of 2020 and to most of the UK by 2025. G.fast is the ideal technology as it can be deployed at scale and speed, allowing as many people to benefit a soon as possible.”

Galvin continued by commenting on fiber’s role in BT’s plans to deliver ultra-fast broadband access across the U.K. “Fiber to the premises technology has a role to play – and Openreach has the largest such network in the U.K. – but G.fast is the answer if the U.K. is to have widespread and affordable ultrafast broadband sooner rather than later,¨ he stated. ¨Those who argue otherwise aren’t being realistic and should look at Australia where the authorities have changed tack on their fiber deployment and followed our example.”