BT has launched the first ever trial of a 10Gbps or ‘hyper-fast’ broadband network in a live working environment.
Cornwall based engineering firm Arcol UK Ltd, is the test site for deployment of the new technology where the service runs in tandem with the company’s existing 330Mbps service on the same fibre.
The proof of concept trial uses new fibre technology called XGPON (Tens of Gibabits on a Passive Optical Network) developed by electronics company ZTE, in partnership with Openreach.
Arcol is connected by a direct fibre link from its offices to BT’s exchange in Truro, and is the first business in the country to enjoy the record-breaking speeds, with more bandwidth available than was used at the highest peak for the entire Olympics media network.
The demonstration aims to show how even faster speeds could be provided over Cornwall’s new fibre infrastructure in the future by upgrading the electronics at the exchange and in user premises.
Potential speeds are so fast that the physical limits of the networking and computer equipment prevent the line from being used at its maximum capacity. And although the direct link between the Truro exchange and Arcol runs at 10Gbps, the company isn’t connected to the wider internet at those speeds as there is nothing that can be done on the web with 10Gbps.
Ranulf Scarbrough, Programme Director for the Superfast Cornwall progamme, said: “What is exciting about this trial is that these hyper-fast speeds have been obtained over the exactly the same fibre that carries BT’s fibre broadband services today. All we are doing is changing the electronics at either end.”
“This trial shows we are thinking and ready for the future even though there are no current plans to deploy this technology. A lot of this project is about future proofing – making sure that it’s not just the fastest speeds today but that we can continue to be at the cutting edge for five, ten, twenty years.”
The 10Gbps trial runs over high speed fibre optic network established by the Superfast Cornwall Programme, a pioneering superfast broadband partnership between the EU, BT and Cornwall Council, which has made fibre optic broadband available to over 100,000 Cornish homes and businesses.
Until recently, Arcol’s 40 staff had shared a 1.5Mbps internet connection. The Superfast Cornwall Programme has delivered high speed fibre-to-the-premise to the business park enabling Arcol to connect at 330Mbps. 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.
“We are still only just discovering the sorts of things we can do with these speeds, such as taking advantage of services like videoconferencing and using a cloud-based ERP system so we can access this information elsewhere, and it has enabled us to be much more efficient and aggressive,” Alun Morgan said.