The UK is undergoing a surge in the average speed of broadband connections, which in the next few months should see 1Mbps and 2Mbps as becoming the accepted average connection speed. This has had a side effect on at least one trial the BT Group is conducting, where they run fibre optic cable direct to a household or company, i.e. the Fibre To The Premises FTTP trials.
Currently this trial runs at a relatively slow speed for fibre of 2Mbps in the downstream direction (0.5Mbps upstream) for residential customers and a symmetrical 2Mbps for business customers. Upgrades are due to start on the 600 or so connections in the trial from 21st April 2005, and will increase the downstream speed to 10Mbps. Business customers will remain on a symmetrical 2Mbps connection for now.
Two further trials inside the main trial will also take place, with around 100 consumer lines in the Kesgrave, Suffolk area jumping to 18Mbps. In the Albert Dock area, around 10 business customers will be upgraded to 20Mbps.
This FTTP trial, forms part of the ongoing work that is the 21st Century Network, and represent what many would consider the holy grail in broadband terms, of finally getting fibre optic cabling straight into peoples homes. If the trial does go well, there will then be the economic assessments to do, to see if the costs and benefits are outweigh other methods like wireless or ADSL2+.
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