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BT To Trial 1Gbps Broadband Next Year

David Gilbert


BT To Trial 1Gbps Broadband Next Year

The Wikipedia page about Kesgrave in Suffolk is sparse to say the least. Its most notable resident is some blogger and its history isn’t exactly bristling with interesting facts and incidents. That, however, could now all change with the news from BT that it will be rolling out 1Gbps broadband to the town in 2011.

The announcement says the roll out will “further support the Government’s vision of creating the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.” For years now BT has lagged behind Virgin in terms of broadband speeds with Branson’s company currently offering 100Mbps super-fast broadband in parts of London and promising to roll it out to the rest of the country in the next 18month.

BT did announce in October it was going to roll out a 110Mbps service next March but in a more limited range of places initially compared to Virgin’s offering. Currently BT’s fastest broadband on offer is 40Mbps.

The 1Gbps trial will commence in early 2011 and will see BT deliver some of the fastest residential speeds over fibre broadband anywhere in the world today. As well as being rolled out to Kesgrave, the rollout will include up to 40 rural market towns (at a later date) in the next phase of BT’s deployment of super-fast fibre broadband. The purpose of the technical trial is to demonstrate the maximum speed capabilities of BT’s Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) product - namely its ability to deliver downstream speeds of 1Gbps and upstream speeds of 400Mbps to businesses and consumers, subject to the appropriate network conditions and customer equipment.

However, as we heard in October, the UK’s internet infrastructure is not ready for the next generation services. The survey, commissioned by networking company Cisco, did not list the UK as one of the 14 countries that were ready for the “applications of tomorrow”, such as HD quality video streaming.

In its statement BT says they “remains committed to its £2.5 billion pledge to roll-out fibre broadband to two thirds of the UK by 2015 and to working with Government to find ways of delivering fibre to the remaining third of UK homes and businesses.”

Source: BT


December 4, 2010, 4:49 am

Given this'll take ten years or so to roll out 125MB/50MB is still a little on the low side, even USB 3 does better than that, let alone USB 4 or the SSDs we'll be using in ten years.

100Gbit/1Tbit trials would be much more promising but I suppose it's a start.


December 4, 2010, 5:22 am

The majority of Kesgrave residents won't notice this. I live here (w00t for BT!) and the only place that needs more bandwidth is the chemist who processes all of their prescriptions...

Lee Marshall

December 4, 2010, 8:57 am

"Currently BT&#8217s fastest broadband on offer is 40Mbps."

No, BT currently offer 100Mbps to FTTH/FTTP customers. My friend had it installed a few weeks ago.


December 4, 2010, 5:22 pm

@Xiphias - what? Perhaps you'd like to enlighten us on exactly what you propose to do with your fantasyland 100Gbit/1Tbit service? 1Gbit/sec is enough for more than 20 simultaneous streams at maximum Blu-Ray quality Full HD (max combined data rate for audio and video in the Blu-Ray spec is 48 Mbit/sec, but average rates will generally be lower). So apart from some kind of specialist scientific application (are you planning to do some kind of remote surgery over your domestic broadband line? Or maybe you need a 1Tb/s hook-up for all the data being churned out by that huge radiotelescope you have in your back garden?), what possible need do you have or foresee for even a 1Gb/s line beyond a "bigger is better" willy-waving boast?


December 4, 2010, 10:12 pm

1Gbps! Brilliant. That will be perfect for the seven people who can get it. Since I still can't get above 4Mbps, I can't help thinking the priorities are all a bit wrong... please can we have an improved service for everyone rather than an insane service for a minority?


December 5, 2010, 12:27 am

Kesgrave is 2 miles up the road.

Who do I have to {vulgar suggestion here} to get them to move the testing area? ;)


December 5, 2010, 1:12 am

@MrGodfrey Of course this makes complete sense but for BT it costs a lot more to enable the whole of the countryside than one small town. They can spend less money for this promotional stunt than if they did what they should for the countryside.

Martin Leventon

December 5, 2010, 7:18 am

They need to concentrate on constant speed, not high speed. The country is very much a 3 tier system when it comes to internet. Fast speeds (generally cities), medium speeds (small to large towns) and slow speeds (rural and very small towns). I would rather be able to get the similar speed everywhere than find high-speed in a few places I might visit.

Tim Sutton

December 5, 2010, 9:03 am


It's not that I'm cynical about BTs priorities or anything. But.

If just one person in the UK has a 4 petabyte per second line, then BT can say that on average every person in the UK gets about 10mbs. Even if everyone else has to carve the 1s and 0s into a bit of wood and glue it to a carrier pigeon.


December 5, 2010, 3:13 pm

@Tim Sutton et al.

Is it really appropriate, even, that BT is boasting of increasing the broadband divide? Of trialing 1Gbps to people living a stone's throw from BT Labs when rural customers are stuck some 1000x below this?

Fibre-to-the-cabinet in rural areas should be a much higher priority to deal with small villages that happen to be 6 miles from the exchange so can't get acceptable DSL. And BT as a commercial enterprise isn't going to prioritize this without government prodding.


December 5, 2010, 8:18 pm

@John: Use some imagination. To use your example, blu-ray quality video is only a maximum of 48Mbps when it's heavily compressed and in that state it's only playable on devices with enough grunt to decode it like a PC or smartphone. If you wanted to stream 20 videos at once then chances are a lot of them would have to be uncompressed and use closer to 2Gbps.

If this was a story about BT rolling out 1Gbps to the last few hundred thousand homes in the UK then I'd agree that it's sufficient but they're only trailing it and it may be ten years before we all get it. In ten years we've increased the speed of our internet connections by a hundred fold, from 40kbps to 4000kbps, and peripheral connections by fifty fold (2MB/s to 100MB/s). We should be trying to trial something a hundred times better than what we'd like right now.


December 5, 2010, 11:46 pm

People who have never worked with TB would not believe the incompetence of this company, lets hope they learn to manage basic adsl from 10 years ago before they even contemplate 1Gbs. They still have bRas software that simply doesn't work. --recently I heard from TB exec that they honestly believe they fix 95% of faults first time - let me tell you they don't even fix 5% first time.

Tony Walker

December 6, 2010, 1:30 am

BT's labs are in Martlesham Heath just a handful of yards away from Kesgrave. Place probably gets used for all sorts of BT experiments.


December 6, 2010, 12:49 pm

@Xiphias - Blu-ray video is hardly "heavily compressed" - a good Blu-ray transfer is, frankly, stunning, with very few perceptible compression artifacts visible even on top end big-screen TVs and projectors. Compression technology is only going to get better, so there is the possibility of even better picture quality-to-bitrate ratios in future.

Yes the processing power required to decode Blu-ray is significant, but given that some smartphones can (as you say) now decode HD, the case for decoding offsite and sending uncompressed video over the internet is absurd. And my example of 20 videos was simply to demonstrate the point that a 1Gbps line is more than enough for any current or near-future domestic application. Name someone who would actually need that on a *domestic* line and I'll show you someone who's either sharing their connection (most likely against the terms of their broadband contract) or has too many children and a massive TV addiction.

Your final point (that connections are 100x faster than they were 10 years ago) doesn't suggest by extension we should be trying to trial something a hundred times better than what we'd *like* right now (because obviously we'd all love an uncontended line with infinite bandwidth and a team of pixies making sure nobody else is accessing the servers you want at the same time as you, so you get 100% responsiveness), but that to keep the same (exponential) growth in internet connection speeds, we need a ten year plan for something 100x faster than what we *have* right now, in which case 1Gbps fits the bill perfectly (it's actually 250x faster than your quoted 4Mbps current benchmark).


December 6, 2010, 3:51 pm

Wow. Write in a TR comment on Sunday that the government should roll out FTTC to rural areas, and Monday they announce plans to do it. The influence of TR is amazing. :)

(With the added bonus that James Naughtie interviewed Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary about it on the Today program and 'spoonerized' Hunt with Culture.)

David Gilbert

December 6, 2010, 4:21 pm

@simonm Yes TR has a hotline to the government which hopefully they will soon be rolling out free iPads and HTC Desire HDs to the while country very soon. Also just heard the Naughtie clip....very funny (especially his 'coughing' fit after the blunder)

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