BT to Trial Ultrafast Broadband in Swansea area

BT-to-Trial-Ultrafast-Broadband-in-SwanseaBT is trialing ‘G.fast’ test lab in BT Tower Swansea to develop cutting edge ultrafast broadband technologies and services.

Selected residential and business premises in the Swansea area stand to benefit from ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds of several hundred megabits per second, as part of a cutting-edge BT technology trial announced at the Swansea Bay City Region Innovation Summit.

BT has been trialling ‘G.fast’ technology, which is capable of transmitting data at very high speeds, at its labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk. The company recently announced its intention to deploy the technology more widely to deliver speeds of up to 500 Mbps within a decade to most of the UK, following two large-scale field trials of G.fast in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Today’s announcement sees Swansea join these locations as amongst the first to benefit from the new technology, which will be supplied by Alcatel-Lucent, in specific types of deployment. The technical trial will focus on how G.fast can be used to serve Multiple Dwelling Units (blocks of flats) and business premises, both of which present unique challenges that differ from ordinary residential deployments.

Around 100 premises will be selected to take part in the trial, based on technical criteria. The trial will also look at the economic impact on small and medium sized businesses of deploying higher speed wireline services.

In addition, BT is proposing a new G.fast test lab in the city’s BT Tower, which would allow academic researchers, start-ups and other communications providers to trial new technologies and applications that exploit the higher speeds provided by G.fast.

Mike Galvin, managing director, Service, Strategy and Operations, BT said, “BT’s research into ultrafast ‘G.fast’ technology is now moving out of the labs and into the field. Wales is an excellent location to trial cutting-edge new broadband technologies, and we’re delighted that the Welsh Government and The City of Swansea will play such a key role.”

Sir Terry Matthews, chairman, Swansea Bay City Region Board said, “I am particularly pleased with the alignment this decision has with a new Computational Foundry being implemented at the University of Swansea. The combination creates a platform for the emergence of a new high-tech ecosystem in the region, one that is sure to spawn a range of innovative new start-up companies, technologies, products and services.”

Edwina Hart, Economy Minister, Welsh Government said, “Wales has a strong record of innovation and a thriving technology sector so it is appropriate Swansea has been selected for this trial of the next generation of broadband. Amongst a range of other initiatives we have put in place to support growth in the digital economy we are already working with BT to roll-out Superfast Broadband to homes and businesses across Wales. Ultrafast broadband could eventually deliver even more benefits to drive economic growth and create jobs.”

The trial in Swansea will build on the existing investment BT has made in fibre infrastructure in the city. Approximately 83 percent of the Swansea local authority area already has access to fibre when both BT’s commercial and Superfast Cymru’s roll out are combined.

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