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BT demos 10Gbit/s broadband at Cornish firm

08 Nov 2012
Fibre broadband strands

BT has shown off what it clams to be the world's fastest working demonstration of a high-speed broadband service, running at 10Gbit/s.

The demo is currently taking place in Cornwall at a local business called Arcol that manufacturers electronic components. The firm is based just outside the city of Truro and is already on a 330Mbit/s fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) service from BT as it brings high-speed services to the entire region.

BT said it is able to offer such high speeds by utilising new equipment from telecoms supplier ZTE called XGPON (pictured below) which enables much faster connections between Arcol's connection to the network and the head end in Truro, with no change needed to the actual fibre infrastructure delivering the service.

ZTE XGPON 10Gbits network equipment in Cornwall

BT stressed this is just a proof of concept at present, but as the only upgrades needed to offer such high speeds is the installation of new terminating equipment at either end of the connection, such speeds could theoretically be offered more widely in the future.

"At present the demo at Arcol doesn't connect to the actual internet as there's nothing on the internet that you need a 10Gbit/s link for, but it proves it can be done," said Ranulf Scarbrough, director of the Superfast Cornwall Programme for BT.

While Arcol staff are able to access the 10Gbit/s network, this speed is not attainable in practice, as the demo network doesn't go beyond a content server hosted in Truro as part of the service.

Nevertheless, the firm's technical director Alun Morgan said the move to superfast broadband services had been transformational for the company.

"Before we had a 1.5Mbit/s service which was effectively dragging the business down. We moved to BT's 100Mbit/s service a few months ago and now the 330Mbit/s offering, and it's enabled us to be much more efficient and aggressive," he said.

"We are still only just discovering the sorts of things we can do with these speeds, such as taking advantage of services like video conferencing and using a cloud-based ERP system so we can access this information elsewhere; it's really opening doors for us."

During the visit to the county to oversee BT's work hooking up the county with superfast broadband, Scarbrough confirmed that at present, the firm has shelved plans to use LTE services to meet its coverage targets.

He explained this was because as various fibre rollouts made the percentage of premises that would need LTE smaller and smaller, it became harder to see an economic case to need 4G capabilities, and the firm would use technologies like satellite to fill in any remaining gaps.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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