BT trials 10Gbps line in Cornwall


BT trials 10Gbps line in Cornwall

Jennifer Scott

BT is trialling a 10Gbps broadband connection to a business in Cornwall in an attempt to future proof its network.

The line runs from the Truro exchange in the centre of the county to Arcol’s factory in Threemilestone, where the firm makes resistors for a number of customers, including Aston Martin, Siemens and British Airways.

The connection is based on equipment from Chinese technology firm ZTE and known as xGPON. GPON is what is currently used by BT to get superfast broadband connections of up to 330Mbps to homes and business, but using ZTE’s kit, this can be increased to 10Gbps.

A content server and xGPON box sits in the exchange, with a large router based at Arcol, meaning the company can achieve the high speeds with no change to the fibre network running the 5km between the two.  

Director of the Superfast Cornwall Programme for the BT Group, Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, said nothing on the internet needed these speeds yet but testing the capabilities meant BT could look to the future.

This technological proof of concept trial is not just about great broadband speeds now, but about future proofing our network and staying ahead

Dr Ranulf Scarbrough, director, Superfast Cornwall Programme, BT Group

“This technological proof of concept trial is not just about great broadband speeds now, but about future proofing our network and staying ahead,” he said.

“We have proved we can do it, we can get 10Gbps which is 10,000 times faster than what Arcol was getting just six months ago, and although we may be limited by electronics, it is not the fibre that will hold these networks up.”

Alun Morgan, technical director at Arcol, said the ability to connect at such fast speeds was “opening the door” for the company to achieve much more.

“The ability to communicate is imperative for us. Before, we couldn’t even listen to a radio stream from the internet without connection speeds of less than 2Mbps,” he said.

“Superfast broadband is making such a difference, allowing us to use services such as cloud back-up, that we couldn’t have dreamed of before.”

Scarbrough said there was “no plan for 10Gbps to become a product” at present, but concluded: “This type of connection exercises every other component that can’t handle it, but the fibre can.”

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