BT aims to offer broadband speeds as high as 500Mbps by rolling out G.Fast technology that can significantly boost speeds without the need for costly and time-consuming upgrades.
BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said that the firm will pilot the technology in two areas this summer - Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle - with some 4,000 homes and businesses.
If these prove successful BT will look to begin widespread commercial deployments from 2016 with a view to offering services to customers by 2020.
"We believe G.fast is the key to unlocking ultrafast speeds and we are prepared to upgrade large parts of our network should the pilots prove successful,” said Patterson.
“That upgrade will depend, however, on there continuing to be a stable regulatory environment that supports investment.”
This has seen speeds of 786Mbps delivered over a 19-metre piece of copper and uploads of 231Mbps. Over a longer 66-metre copper connection, tests achieved downloads of 696Mbps and uploads of 200Mbps.
BT said that the 66-metre results are particularly notable as this is the average length of a copper connection between a premise and the BT network, so there is significant potential for G.Fast to boost broadband connections around the UK.
G.Fast takes fibre closer to the premise by running it from a cabinet to a telephone pole or footway box.
This is complemented by a new transmission technology that reduces the 'crosstalk' from other copper lines. BT likens this to noise-cancelling technology in headphones.
The plans were announced as part of the firm’s 2014 Q3 results which revealed that the Openreach fibre network now passes 22 million premises and that 258,000 new customers moved to fibre services in the quarter.
This helped BT to a pre-tax profit for the quarter of £617m, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year. This was despite revenues falling by three percent to £4.59bn.
Patterson also touched on the acquisition of EE that is currently being worked through, touting it as a major growth area for BT in the years ahead.
"Mobility is a key growth area for us. We are making good progress on our due diligence in relation to a possible acquisition of EE and will make further announcements in due course," he said.
BT's bid for EE triggered a flurry of similar moves in the mobile market. Three has made an offer for O2 and Sky has signed a wholesale partnership deal with O2.
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