Zen Internet to join trial of ultrafast G.fast technology by Openreach

Zen Internet, the Rochdale-based ISP, has become the first UK provider to confirm participation in the first large-scale trial of Openreach’s next generation G.fast technology, capable of 1 Gbps on FTTP-On -Demand (FoD) broadband service. BT Openreach has started inviting ISPs to participate in its trial, which began in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) this month. Openreach is hoping to start its 10-year commercial deployment of this technology by 2016-17.

The G.fast (ITU G.9701) technology is capable of providing eventually broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps and which will be made available to most of the homes in the UK, of which the trial is kicking-off this month in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. Another similar major trial is being prepared to be conducted in Gosforth, in Newcastle. Yet another technical trial will soon follow across parts of Swansea in Wales. However, the ISP may initially cap the speed at 300Mbps or lower, during at least the trial of the broadband service. This test service will match the existing service provided on Openreach’s Fibre-to-the Premises (FTTP) based network.

Over and above, Openreach intends to test their improvements made to their Fibre-on-Demand (FoD) service, that allows small businesses and rich households to cover the cost of building directly a pure fibre-optic cable, on FTTP technology, to their premises, but only offered in areas where the FTTC network is enabled for the FOD2 service. This trial is being planned to be officially launched in the last week of this month and would run on for 6 months. The FoD service is being made available separately to most areas across Wales. This service which is based on G.fast however may not win performance awards and will take probably some 10 years to be deployed over about 60% to 70% of the country at first. How many of the ISPs are likely to take it up is yet unknown, but BT and PlusNet are surely in the reckoning.

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