Openreach and Huawei Trial Fastest Fibre-to-the-Premises Broadband Technology in European First

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Openreach, BT’s local network business, and Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, have become the first companies in Europe to trial an exciting new broadband technology which could super-charge speeds for businesses and consumers in the future.

The trial involved a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connection running between the University of Suffolk, Ipswich Exchange, and BT’s world renowned R&D centre at Adastral Park. It saw 40Gbps, 10Gbps and 2.5Gbps speeds delivered simultaneously over a single fibre optic cable.

The most common FTTP technologies in the UK today offer maximum speeds of up to 330Mbps, with a single fibre transmitting 2.5Gbps of capacity, which is then shared between customers. But this latest breakthrough shows that much greater capacity of 40Gbps and 10Gbps can be supported along the same fibre, demonstrating how FTTP networks can be future-proofed to stay well ahead of prospective demand for bandwidth.

The different technologies use separate wavelengths, meaning that all three can operate seamlessly on the same fibre network, known as “co-existence”. This demonstrates not only how operators can flex to meet ultrafast speeds in the future, but also the latent capability of network that Openreach has already deployed.

The University of Suffolk has been using the service for the past two weeks allowing them the high bandwidths required for today’s demanding research. During the next phase of testing the University will use the high bandwidth for streaming lectures, designing games, and delivering online courses – amongst other services.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “Superfast speeds are now available to 9 out of 10 homes and businesses and we’re taking fibre further. We’re also excited to be bringing the country ultrafast speeds.

“We’ll be taking ultrafast to up to 12 million UK premises by the end of 2020, and to the majority by 2025. But it’s also vital that we continue to look even further into the future, and prepare for increasing data consumption over our network. That’s what this trial is all about.

“The trial proves that not only is our FTTP network fit for the future, but with the right equipment in the customer’s home and at the exchange, we can tailor speeds to suit their individual requirements. So whether you’re a small business specialising in graphic design or a keen gamer using UHD and virtual reality, we’ll make sure your communications provider can offer you the speeds and value for money services that you need.

“I’m looking forward to discussing this technology breakthrough further with our communications providers to see how it could help shape their future plans.”

Jeff Wang, president of Huawei Access network, said: “Huawei has been running an Innovation program with Openreach for many years and we are looking forward to continuing the partner relationship for the future. Huawei’s investment and innovation in both fibre and copper based technologies will help Openreach to deploy the ultrafast broadband to serve the UK public for many years to come and help achieve Openreach ambitions of passing 10 million homes with G.fast and up to a further 2 million homes with FTTP by 2020.”

Peter O’Rourke, Director of IT at University of Suffolk, said: “The University is proud to partner with industry and so welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Huawei and Openreach to demonstrate these exciting new technologies.”

Today, more than 91% of homes and businesses in the UK have access to superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above[1], whilst the Openreach fibre network is available to 26 million homes and businesses. More than 100 different communications providers (CPs) are offering services over the company’s open wholesale fibre network, and all CPs have access to superfast and ultrafast services under the same terms, conditions and pricing.

The company will make ultrafast speeds available to as many as 12 million premises by the end of 2020, using a mixture of FTTP and G.fast technologies.

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