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Around 100 homes and businesses in Swansea’s SA1 Waterfront and Maritime Quarter will get a free six-month boost to their broadband speeds as BT and Alcatel-Lucent conduct a series of technical trials of G.fast delivery technology.
Described as a stepping stone between fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), G.fast promises to deliver download speeds of over 300Mbps over short local loops, and this could rise in the future.
The trial will explore how G.fast will operate in multiple-occupancy dwellings, flats and office blocks.
BT managing director of service, strategy and operations Mike Galvin, said: “This technical trial in Swansea builds on our work in the labs and on the largest customer trials of G.fast technology in the world in Gosforth and Huntingdon.
“The people of Swansea will play an extremely important role in helping us gauge how this technology performs, and how we might deliver it to more of Wales and the UK over the coming years.”
BT hopes to make a full service available alongside its FTTP and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services in the next two years, on its way to deploying 500Mbps ultrafast services to most of the country by 2025, as it pledged in January 2015.
Swansea Bay City Region Board chair Terry Matthews said things had moved “at an astonishing speed” since BT first announced it would conduct trials of G.fast – and set up a lab space for developers – in the city in May 2015.
“I am personally delighted at the number and range of business and residential consumers who will be able to experience the benefits of this technology. It will lay the foundations for the exploration of a fantastic range of next-generation services and applications,” he said.
Welsh government deputy minister for skills and technology, Julie James, added: “We are already working with BT to roll-out superfast broadband to homes and businesses across Wales which will help support our economy. We want to stay ahead of the competition and so it’s good to see this continued investment and innovation in the industry.
“Ultrafast broadband could eventually deliver even more benefits to Wales – helping drive economic growth and create jobs.”
S8080, a website design agency based in the area, has already signed up to take part in the trials.
“We’re a company that relies heavily on fast, reliable connectivity to the internet in order to both upload and download large files to our clients,” said S8080 network administrator Peter Ward.
“Our first impression of G.fast is that it’s a technology that does exactly this and is much quicker than what we’ve used in the past. It’s great news for Swansea that G.fast is being trialled here and I’d encourage other businesses in the area to take advantage of the opportunity to test this cutting-edge technology.”