BT says it can deliver up and down broadband speeds of up to 1,000mbps using a combination of copper and fibre wires.
BT says it was previously thought these Gigabit speeds could only be delivered using dedicated business lines or a fibre optic cable laid all the way from a telephone exchange to a building - which is much more expensive, disruptive and time consuming.
BT now says it is "greatly encouraged" by the potential of Fibre-To-The-Distribution Point (FTTdp) or "G.FAST" technology - where fibre is instead rolled out to telephone poles or junction boxes located close to homes and businesses.
During its G.FAST trials, downstream speeds of around 800mbps were achieved over a 19m length of copper, combined with upstream (sending data) speeds of more than 200mbps. Similar speeds of 700/200 were also achieved over longer lines of 66m, a distance that encompasses around 80 percent of potential connections using the technology, said BT.
As well as delivering ultrafast speeds, the technology also offers the flexibility to tailor the allocation of the total 1Gbps speed according to a users’ needs, BT added.
BT's fibre network is said to currently pass more than 20 million UK premises using a mix of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology (FTTC).
FTTC, the more common of the two technologies, currently delivers downstream speeds of up to 80mbps. The alternative FTTP is capable of significantly faster speeds than FTTC but is much more expensive to deploy.
With FTTdp, the fibre is closer to the premises than with FTTC, meaning the slower copper link is much shorter and therefore potentially much faster. G.FAST technology is used to maximise data capacity over the copper and it uses much higher frequencies, plus advanced "crosstalk" cancellation techniques, to make the faster speeds possible.
BT said FTTdp could be a “self-install” product with no need for home engineering visits, making it a cost-effective and feasible commercial product.
Dr Tim Whitley, MD of research and innovation at BT Group, said, “We see G.FAST as a very promising technology with significant potential." BT plans further testing on G.FAST over the coming months using G.FAST hardware from the likes of Adtran, Alcatel Lucent and Huawei.
Whilst commercial G.FAST equipment is still immature, there have been determined efforts by the ITU standards body to accelerate product development, with the approval of the G.9701 recommendation expected in December.