Openreach (BT) has today announced that the first customer on their new pilot of ‘up to’ 330Mbps capable hybrid fibre G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) broadband technology has gone live in Gillingham (Kent). The pilot aims to reach 138,000 premises in 17 UK locations by the end of March 2017.
The PR blurb claims that the family run business of Temiz book-keeping Ltd has now become the “first” to benefit from their planned roll-out to reach 10 million homes and businesses across the United Kingdom by 2020 and then “most of the UK” by 2025 (this includes their FTTP/H commitment), although strictly speaking the operator has actually had a limited trial of G.fast running in Gillingham since last Spring.
The technology itself works by running a fibre optic cable to your local PCP Street Cabinet, which is then extended in size via the additional of a new extension “pod” that houses the G.fast line cards. Properties that exist less than 300 metres from this cabinet (copper line distance) should be able to receive download speeds of up to 330Mbps (50Mbps upload). NOTE: A 160Mbps (30Mbps upload) product option is also available.
We published a lot more detail about how the G.fast pilot works and the way it will be installed back in January 2017 (here). Today’s announcement also appears to state that every one of the planned 12 million premises by 2020 (10m G.fast + 2m FTTP) will be able to receive “ultrafast speeds of more than 100Mbps” (i.e. some will get less than the top 330Mbps speed due to G.fast signal degradation over longer copper lines than 300m).
Mehmet Uzum, Owner of Temiz book-keeping, said:
“All our client data is stored in the Cloud. Having ultrafast speeds means we can download and upload that data instantly – however many client accounts we are working on at the same time.
Uploading heavy data files could take a couple of hours with the speeds we had before but now we can achieve the same in a matter of minutes – it is a big time saver.”
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:
“Making ultrafast speeds available to up to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020 will be another boost to the UK’s thriving digital economy. We want to improve the personal and professional lives of people up and down the country, and delivering high speed G.fast services at scale and pace means we can reach more of them.
It’s great to see our the first customers being switched on and already reaping the benefits, and we’re looking forward to delivering ultrafast speeds to the largest number of people in the fastest possible time over the coming months and years.”
At present the G.fast pilot is being run alongside a special discount price (pricing details) and as such we don’t yet know how much the final commercial product, which is due to start rolling out towards the end of 2017, will actually cost. The ISPs known to be offering a G.fast product under this pilot are BT and TalkTalk.
The pilot itself is set to run until this Summer 2017, although we note that some of the planned 17 locations won’t all be upgraded at the same time and we understand that premises in Swindon might not benefit until June. Meanwhile the commercial roll-out of G.fast isn’t expected to begin until later in H2 2017.