back to article BT tests 1Gbit/s broadband

BT hopes to show off the potential of its fibre-to-the-premises technology in the new year, with a trial in Suffolk that will push downstream speeds up to 1Gbit/s. The purely technical exercise in Kesgrave, involving engineers from BT's nearby Martlesham Heath labs, will aim for a downstream speed ten times the 100Mbit/s …


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  1. Trevor Marron

    As neither will let a home user run their own server with a fixed IP address then what is the point?

    All that speed and nothing to download/upload. The only thing the average home user will use that bandwidth for is downloading bootleg stuff and watching TV. And as both providers have their own TV provision how long will it be before they start throttling the BBC, ITV and C4s independent offerings.....

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Not important

      You're confusing the tail connection with the network. There's nothing about the tail connection that prevents static IP nor indeed any other network feature you want.

      BT make the tail connection available to other providers. Any ISP can offer fixed IP addresses via WB(M)C if it wants to. To say nothing of VULA and GEA which the LLU ISPs will probably use.

      Mind you - running anything except a light-weight, casual use server from the core of a network is pretty silly. The more traffic a router gets the closer to the edge it ought to be. Ideally you want your servers co-located in the same data centre as your ISP.

      1. JaitcH

        Moving the DSLAMs really helps

        Where I live they use pole mounted DSLAMs to provide high speed drops to customer premises. The backbone are high-speed fibre cables. No more blaming "too far from the exchange". These are even used in remote villages which, when compared to the UK, are really, really remote.

        Some city applications even use fibre drops to customer premises.

        As for the much hyped test "from BT's nearby Martlesham Heath labs", 'Queen' setups hardly represent the real world conditions out in the field.

        Anyway you cut it, the British consumer have been cheated out of what, now, is really an essential utility because BT has failed miserably.

    2. L.B

      Running a server with dynamic addresses

      To do this try looking up dynamic dns services.

      For example offer a free service, just create a name and configure your router. Every time it makes the dsl conenction and gets a new address it tells thier server to update the dns name to the new address.

      If you are after much more than this, go spend some money.

  2. micheal

    Here we go again

    We can supply 80% of our business customers, but you have to pay for it with their tax money, same as we use the taxpayer funded infrastructure you gave us when we became BT. If Virgin and the likes were handed a ready cabled city, they'd be streets ahead by now in this race, but they had to lay their own infrastructure at their cost, not the public purse's .

    My parents cant get BB, the cable runs almost past their house from the exchange to the village, then back to their house making it over 4Km when they talk about rural BB for all, they dont take into account the way the GPO wired the country.

    1. Mike Hanna

      4km away

      I know you're not specifically complianing but it pains me to see when people write this. Should we perhaps build a new motoway off-ramp direct to your mothers' house at the taxpayers expense as well? If the craptastic broadband is such a sticking point, move house. People who complain about such things would probably complain just as much when they move closer to the exchange and then get radiation sickness from the mobile phone antennas all over the BT Exchange rooftop.

      And yes, I see what you mean about BT having been effectively given the whole infrastructure back in 81 when it was privatised, but I'd suggest they may have put a few quid into major or wholescale upgrades to large portions since then, whilst still having to give (greatly) subsidised access to those systems to comanies like Cable & Wireless. If C&W / NTL / Virgin have only pushed the capability for their services to a portion of the country, and been able to sell to an even smaller percentage of that portion over the last three decades, whose fault is that?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Fail @ Fail

      You have that backwards. The taxpayer owned network was SOLD for real money when the company was floated.

      NTL/Virgin laid some network but inherited most of it from failed companies like mercury, telewest etc. The banks (and therefore most taxpayers) bailed out these companies.

      Think about it this way, if you were about to spend £11b on a fibre upgrade, would you bother knowing that the regulator would force you to let other people use it before you had even broken even?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now it'll only take 8 seconds to hit my daily bandwidth cap.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Except that this is a last-mile access component and nothing to do with any restrictions your ISP might place on its usage.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Never mind 1Gbs

    Try getting 1Mbs to rural bits of the UK not within 200 feet of the exchange.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    If it's from a government subsidy

    Then surely the fibre network that is produced should be open for anyone to use, not just BT (or any other operator)?

    1. Mike Hanna

      That's what I thought! I asked Sky when they thought they would be reselling BT's superfast stuff, and they said there are no plans yet. Maybe it's time barred, or maybe BT only need to open it up for other companies' use when they hit a revenue target over the whole network

      1. AndrueC Silver badge


        Any ISP that wants to can piggy back BT's FTTC right now. Today. This very minute. Several already do via their wholesale service. TalkTalk have just announced a VULA offering. Other LLUOs are trialling GEA. It's not going to be cheap and for VULA/GEA it'll take a while for ISPs to get to grips with the technology.

        Just don't try and make out that BT's FTTC requires you to subscribe to BT. It isn't true. The choice isn't great but that's down to the other ISPs to get their fingers out.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Martlesham Heath labs

    is that Ad Astral park?

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge



  7. Tom 15


    There seems to be a bit of confusion in these comments:

    1. BT's FTTC/FTTP is open to other ISPs. Hopefully Be will give an offering soon with unlimited bandwidth and static IPs.

    2. BT aren't currently getting government funding. They are saying they'd like some of the £0.8billion pot but that is open to Virgin and other providers too.

  8. dz-015
    Dead Vulture

    What happened to the original title for this article?

    It was brilliant!

  9. bexley

    never mind 1Gbps...

    ...i'd like a bit more than 512Kbps at my house please?

    Or have you forgotton about us ?

    I though you had.

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    Interesting that 90% of the UK population is classed as 'urban' - so BT want massive subsidies even to cover all the townies - how much more to include the rural dwellers? Not that anyone at home needs 1Gb, or even 100Mb if we're honest - I'm lucky, I live and work in a village and get 7.5Mb which generally seems fine, but a lot of rural dwellers get far less, and I wonder if I would still get 7.5Mb if all my neighbours start watching Eastenders reruns online. And a bit more than 400kb upload would be very nice.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Hah! I work in a high school in Norfolk, and at the moment we are struggling to get more than 0.2mbps on our 'future-proof' 100mbit link to the County Council network. We've had more faults than I care to think about (including B.T. arbitrarily deciding to roll out server updates during a working week), and B.T. are never able to give ETAs for fixing anything.

    Maybe they should focus on getting what they have already working properly first?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Not sure

      I think they're quite a big company. They probably have people who do repair stuff and people who develop new stuff. Given the size of the UK - if they adopted your well-thought through policy of not doing and research or development until there's not a single fault anywhere in the UK I suspect the arrival of faster broadband speeds might take some time.

  12. Da Weezil

    Finish what you started????

    How about the huge number of Market 1 exchanges that are still on 20cn get upgraded to 21cn before BT start looking at going even faster?

    Or do they need us to bankroll this by still paying the highest cost for bandwidth thanks to the "leverage pricing" skew waved through by OFCON which is supposed to encourage us to move from IPSC to WBC... be nice to have the opportunity to move... we suffer a price penalty for staying on IPSC imposed by the same company that repeatedly puts back installation of WBC tech. Paying the most for the slowest and lowest... it wouldn't happen in any other industry!!!

    Once again Market 1 users are fleeced by BT. the adsl investment has been paid for by now - many lines only exist to service broadband and BTw get a second line rental in effect due to the secondary use of the line.. so please no more B?S about us being costly or subsidised by the urban areas that pay far LESS for a better service on new tech.

    BTw really should be separated COMPLETELY from BT group. then we might see a level playing field.

    Grenade.. cos they need one underneath em.

    1. Andy Livingstone


      The above post is spot-on. The thumbs down is my stupid error. SBU still.

  13. Randombard

    So why the race to infinity

    I am confused, there was this masive campagn for race to infinity and the caxton exchange has more then 70% of all votes and I know thats a seperate campaign but they elect to reward somewere else entirely with super fast broadband?! its got me so anoyed I have forgotten how to spell and use punctuation!! propperly. I assume one of the senior management team lives in the area they are tesing.

    Bloody BT

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Did you actually read the article? It's a techical trial next to their research centre. Would you rather they launched something unproven and untested in your town? Would you be happy for the downtime and service issues that would result?

  14. Bluenose

    What a lot of dummies

    BT are the biggest telecoms infrastructure company in the UK. Bar Virgin and whatever Kingston is called nowdays, every single other ISP in Britain is using the BT network to provide fixed line broadband whether to rural or urban customers. The majority of these people don't want the costs and effort involved in deploying a national telecoms network so continue to leave it to BT whilst complaining that BT charge them to much. That is why the pot of £0.8 billion will in the main end up in BT's hands. The only exception to that will be if Virgin decides to go ahead with using BT telephone poles to roll out fibre optic to villages near to their points of presence (but did you notice whose poles they are going to use??).

    The reality is that 1GB broadband is still a long way away for consumers but when it does come there will be applications that will use it in exactly the same way that there were applications when we all moved (most of us anyway) from 56kbps dial up internet access to 2mbps broadband. The provision of such high volume will also deliver some of these lower priced local solutions that the Govt wants as people like me would certainly consider investing in a village based wirless mesh network using my 1GB backhaul to provide the access to the Internet (because 1GB whilst cheaper than some of today's links will be decidedly expensive).

    So I say give BT the cash (or most of it) but get a committment from them to make sure that when they roll out 1GB to small market towns, they allow entrepreneurs to provide fast access to the surrounding small villages using wireless combined with the 1GB link. then again BT why don't you just do it.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: What a lot of dummies

      Kingston is still Kingston as far as I'm aware. Outside of Hull they operate as Eclipse, and resell BT's service. Smallworld and Wight Cable are the two cable companies that aren't part of the Virgin Empire. They own their own pipes.

    2. InITForTheMoney

      C&W also have pipes and their own exchanges

      "Be" use the C&W (predominantly former Energis) infrastructure to provide their network, however still use the local exchange premises for termination and BT infrastructure where there is no C&W service. The former Energis network is wrapped around power lines and was spun out of National Grid.

      Another player is Global Crossing who's network is run alongside railways (former Racal Network), although this network needs significant investment. This was spun out of the former British Rail.

      BT isn't the only company that inherited networks from the national infrastructure during privatisation in the 80's and 90's, it is however the only company that has Points of Presence in all residential areas and (crucially) a wire to every home.

      Even Virgin resells BT based ADSL where it's cable network doesn't reach.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Companies borrow money to invest in kit to sell products to make money.

      Consumers want fast broadband but seem disinclined to pay more for it - certainly not enough to recoup the investment in a reasonable timeframe.

      That means the banks won't lend the money to people like BT to invest in the kit. And, I guess, BT can make better returns by investing in the stuff that people do pay more for - MPLS and the like to multinationals.

  15. autopoiesis

    Still paying the price for Thatcher's myopia

    Dick Pountain, writing in 2001:

    "...the horrendous mess that is BT's ADSL roll-out program has roots that can be traced back to 15 years ago, when Margaret Thatcher's Conservative goverment brutally rebuffed BT's offer to fibre-up the whole of the UK at its own expense... the very first feature I wrote for this magazine [PCpro] back in January 1996 commented on this stupifyingly destructive decision..."


    Anyone got a copy of the 1996 article (was a good'un IIRC)?

    1. Velv

      Got there before me

      I was going to quote this, but you got there before me.

      However, part of the deal was that BT was the provider of subscription services down it's pipe, which would have made it the sole provider of all services in the UK.

      There was no "piggy back" agreement. There was no "local loop". There would only be BT. Sky would have gone out of business since it was still analogue at the time. Telewest, United Artists, NTL, etc would never even have got started.

      Maybe I'm being too cynical, but BT being given free reign to "cable the country" under the terms it wanted would have been a very very very bad thing. Capitalist Thatcher might not have been that Tory after all.

  16. mittfh

    1 GBit/s?

    I assume that kind of bandwidth would be for business customers, who'd have dozens (or hundreds) of computers all trying to use the same pipe. So how much would a 1GBit/s leased line cost? Presumably if they can undercut that, they might have some interest.

    But for home users, such broadband would be pointless - unless the file(s) you wanted happened to be cached on a server at the other end of the pipe, you'd probably struggle to achieve anywhere near even 100MBit/s as your data would be shunted onto lower capacity pipes shared with others to hop from point to point across the 'net.

    1. hplasm

      1 Gb/s Fibre

      Is available now- and has been for a few years ,as leased line, EtherVPN, MPLS; call-it-what you will, from both BT and Virgin. Often both companies are used at one end or another. It is fibre to the customer, and yes,it is horribly expensive and reliable. That's why broadband is relatively cheap and sometimes a bit crappy.

      Prices are , I understand, Available on Application.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Dang, 1Gbit?

    I can get a lot of porn with that.

  18. Neal 5

    I would pay it,

    and why not, we expend approx 5Bn pounds a year on military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. What about this for an idea, bring our boys back home, spend 2Bn pounds over the next two parliaments on infrastructure upgrade, save 38Bn pounds(over the next 2 parliament, and wean our MP's off arse licking to the Y(w)anks.), which can be spent reducing the national credit card bill(sorry deb bill).

  19. Nya
    Thumb Down

    BT can take a hike!

    So let another case of connecting up BT management with decent connections and forgetting everyone else. Typical.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Being fortunate enough to live in an area with 50Mb broadband at home, and 100MB at work...

    Being fortunate enough to live in an area with 50Mb broadband at home, and 100MB (that's 1000Mb AKA 1Gbps) at work...

    I have to say three things, firstly, it's great that BT are trialling a product, and secondly, when the offer was put in on the house we have recently moved into, we'd already checked for it's broadband capability.

    Thirdly, there are still some areas in the southern half of england where you can get a 3 bedroom house for under 120 grand in a Virgin "fibre optic" area, very near areas of outstanding natural beauty, and yet estate agents and home sellers don't realise the potential added value of living in an area like this.

    If you need broadband, and you buy a house in an area without checking how good the broadband is first, then hard luck, you should have done your research.

    On the other hand, if you live in an area you love and are unable to get decent broadband, I have a hell of a lot of sympathy for you, because i used to until very recently - but please bear in mind that businesses tend to be driven by profit, and in order to make high profits they need to have a target set of potential customers in a densely populated area, as that is where the rewards are higher.

    IF you really want to facilitate the roll-out of fibre, get as many people as you can to petition your local mp on the issue, and maybe we could at least get rid of the fibre tax.

  21. Rob Beard

    Not spots

    Why can't they sort out these not spots first and those with poor connections, going on the article about getting a decent broadband service in Scotland, surely they should be using subsidies to upgrade those who can't get broadband or those who can hardly get owt.


    (A 20Mbit Virgin Cable customer who counts himself lucky as BT won't invest in our local exchange)

  22. jason 7

    Struggling at the moment......... find a real use for the 16Mbit connection BT have supplied me with since April.

    its nice but a solid low latency 6Mb connection would do.

    By the way you folks with ultra low connections, have you tried pulling out your bellwires in your master sockets?

    Worth a try. At best it can give around a 40% boost at worst it does nothing.

    1. Snapper

      Bellwire Fix

      Is this what you mean?

      There is an additional non-techie variation of this, where you don’t pull out any wires.

      And yes, it’s called the iPlate!

      If you want to see if this would work for you, just remove the original BT face plate and plug your router directly into the test socket.

      Combine the bellwire fix with THIS panel, and you have a very neat arrangement with no dongles.

      This is what I did and I’m averaging 11,500kb/s download as against 7,200kb/s before. So a 62% increase.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap Publicity get the funding !

    BT are rascals to the core, monster Telco (as el reg wud like to call it).

    ONe can reach their monthly allowane in a few minutes on the first day of the month and then be : either charged a horrendous rate for extar usage ; OR slowed todown to 8 mb and put into contention ratio.

    WHats the point of it all?

    They just want the money.

  24. -tim

    How do they do it?

    Is this another shared GePON trial or direct connection?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Generic Ethernet Access

    Lets get a few things straight.

    The access network 'given' to BT is a universal network, i.e. it covers the entire country. This network was originally designed ONLY to carry voice services. Data was a speck on the horizon when the older parts of the network were built.

    Network upkeep and maintenance is an expensive game. Openreach employ 20,000 technical staff PLUS contractors for this purpose (with the exception of contractors and private circuit types, ALL OR techs do installation, repair and proactive maintenance).

    ANY comms provider can buy the GEA (FTTC/FTTP) product from Openreach. If your ISP doesn't supply the service, it's because they don't want to pay for it (they need to use different exchange equipment to what they currently employ). If they don't want to pay to install their own kit they can buy the same service from BT Wholesale.

    Why should Openreach be given funding for the roll out rather than anyone else? Simple: readily available manpower, established processes, reliable supply of equipment and, most importantly...

    Equality of access to ISPs and comms providers. Openreach WILL supply the product to any CP who pays for it (and you can see the prices yourself on the Openreach website).

    I do not work for BT, i'm a Virgin customer and i'm happy with it but please quit the BT bashing. They are not a charity and network build-out is frighteningly expensive - densely populated areas will get it sooner because the investment will be more quickly recouped and there will probably be less Civils work required whereas rural and less densely populated areas are much more expensive to supply (longer cable runs, more D side uplift required, longer new duct runs etc). If you ran a business, would you put in the massive investment required without a decent guarantee you will get a good return? Thought not.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT will do it if the government pays

    same as other ISPs. So, if they can't operate profitably and provide modern technology then I think the ISPs have proven that the privatization of this very important industry has failed.

    The problem is that ISPs can make enough money to pay good dividends or keep up an expensive infrastructure, apparently not both. With the importance of communications increasing I don't see how the privatization of this industry makes any sense. Especially when these companies require government funds to provide their own infrastructure upgrades.

    Governments should take all that infrastructure back, we paid for it, built it, and should still own it.

  27. thecakeis(not)alie


    See title.

  28. Tempest

    Want faster Internet? Order IP TV!

    If you order IP TV the telco gives you top grade lines/fibres to optimise the service.

    Adding an order for Internet gets you better delivery than you might expect otherwise.

    1. Dr. Funk.

      That's fine but.....

      If you are unlucky to live near somone who has IP TV such as BT Vision you may find your BB connection speeds compromised

      It is my understanding that BT undertake traffic shaping on lines through the cab to the exchange to ensure Quality of Service on the TV service (or Bus Lanes as BT like to call them)

      so, if your neighbour(s) buy BT Vision expect your connection to be f**ked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Erm no

        That's not how it works. A portion of the last mile bandwidth of someone with video on demand is reserved and prioritised, but it's not Internet traffic. A separate network connection to the DSLAM delivers the traffic over this reserved route.

        If anything, if your neighbour (and assuming they're on the same DSLAM) is watching some video on demand they're using less of the Internet bandwidth at the node and your throughput could actually increase.

        There's no grooming or shaping done in cabinets, they're (for the copper access network) just a cross connection point, there's no electronics in there at all.

  29. Reg Sim

    For the love of god, just split BT and have done with it.

    Split BT and make it Transco'estk, and make it a majority public owned company.

    Then allocate funds from the tax payer, then it will be a level playing field for company's to sell there services over.

    It really is a stupid system we have atm.


    1. A 31

      @Reg Sim

      what will you do with 999 then ?

      makes no money, costs a lot of money

      huge infrastructure, not easily replicated I guess.

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