BT to trial ‘ultrafast’ broadband in the Swansea area

BT proposes new ‘G.fast’ test lab in BT Tower Swansea to develop cutting edge new broadband technologies and services.

BT proposes new ‘G.fast’ test lab in BT Tower Swansea to develop cutting edge new broadband technologies and services. 

Selected residential and business premises in the Swansea area stand to benefit from ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds of several hundred megabits per second, as part of a cutting-edge BT technology trial announced at the Swansea Bay City Region Innovation Summit today.

BT has been trialling ‘G.fast’ technology, which is capable of transmitting data at very high speeds, at its labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk. The company recently announced its intention to deploy the technology more widely to deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps within a decade to most of the UK*, following two large-scale field trials of G.fast in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. These trials, which start later this summer, will be led by Openreach, BT’s local access network business, and will be open to all Communications Providers on an equal basis.

Today’s announcement sees Swansea join these locations as amongst the first to benefit from the new technology, which will be supplied by Alcatel-Lucent, in specific types of deployment. The technical trial will focus on how G.fast can be used to serve Multiple Dwelling Units (blocks of flats) and business premises, both of which present unique challenges that differ from ordinary residential deployments. Around 100 premises will be selected to take part in the trial, based on technical criteria. The trial will also look at the economic impact on small and medium sized businesses of deploying higher speed wireline services.

In addition, BT is proposing a new G.fast test lab in the city’s BT Tower, which would allow academic researchers, start-ups and other communications providers to trial new technologies and applications that exploit the higher speeds provided by G.fast.

Mike Galvin, Managing Director of Service, Strategy and Operations at BT, said: “BT’s research into ultrafast ‘G.fast’ technology is now moving out of the labs and into the field. Wales is an excellent location to trial cutting-edge new broadband technologies, and we’re delighted that the Welsh Government and The City of Swansea will play such a key role. This partnership further enables BT to deploy and validate the next generation of multi-media business and consumer communications capabilities – capabilities that will ultimately benefit the entire UK and ensure our communications services remain among the best in the world. Our technical trial will allow us to evaluate the best way of delivering ultrafast speeds to flats and business premises nationwide.”

Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region Board, added: “I welcome this important news. Communications is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the world. I am particularly pleased with the alignment this decision has with a new Computational Foundry being implemented at the University of Swansea. The combination creates a platform for the emergence of a new high-tech ecosystem in the Region, one that is sure to spawn a range of innovative new start-up companies, technologies, products and services. ”

Edwina Hart, Welsh Government Economy Minister, said: “Wales has a strong record of innovation and a thriving technology sector so it is appropriate Swansea has been selected for this trial of the next generation of broadband. Amongst a range of other initiatives we have put in place to support growth in the digital economy we are already working with BT to roll-out Superfast Broadband to homes and businesses across Wales. Ultrafast broadband could eventually deliver even more benefits to drive economic growth and create jobs.”

The trial in Swansea will build on the existing investment BT has made in fibre infrastructure in the city. Approximately 83% of the Swansea local authority area already has access to fibre when both BT’s commercial and Superfast Cymru’s roll out are combined.

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369.

All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to editors

*Subject to the trials being successful and there being a supportive environment for investment.

About BT
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.