Uses announcement to make case for public funds

BT to trial 1Gbps fibre broadband

BT announced that it is to trial speeds of up to 1GB/s over fibre broadband in a move which it says supports the government’s vision of “creating the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.”

The trial will apparently begin in early 2011 and is designed to “demonstrate the maximum speed capabilities” of the telco’s fibre to the premesis (FTTP) network currently being rolled out. The trial offer 1Gb/s downstream and 400Mb/s upstream to both businesses and consumers “subject to the appropriate network conditions and customer equipment,” BT said.

“We intend to continually push the limits of our super-fast broadband programme in terms of the technology and the geography,” said BT director of strategy Olivia Garfield. 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.”

BT also chose the announcement to state that it is “ready to contribute further funding” if the firm gains public investment by winning government tenders aimed at bringing fibre to rural areas.

“The Government has indicated it will make £830 million available over the course of this parliament and the next. Were BT to win funds on that scale, the company’s initial estimates suggest that, with supplementary funding, it could extend fibre to up to 90 per cent of UK premises, assuming no unfavourable changes to the investment or regulatory environment.”

However the government would be remiss if it did not consider the implications for competition if it were to write the big cheque out to BT exclusively.

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