BT working with Southwark Council to trial new fibre broadband technology in Rotherhithe
Openreach, BT’s local network division, is conducting a trial of new Fibre-to-the-Remote-Node (FTTrN) broadband technology in Rotherhithe – bringing download speeds of up to 80Mbps to an area that was previously unreachable with standard superfasti broadband connections.
16 premises in Gwent Court, Rotherhithe now have the opportunity to choose from a range of broadband service providers taking part in the trial, and will see their download speeds increase to close to 80Mbps – around 20 times faster than existing services in the area.
Rotherhithe has proved a challenging location for private companies to upgrade with fibre broadband because of its industrial history, large docks and the prevalence of long ‘exchange-only lines’ - where broadband connections run the full distance from a local telephone exchange to a home – rather than via roadside cabinets.
Traditionally, Openreach has needed to install a new cabinet to bring fibre broadband technology to streets across the UK, but FTTrN works by taking fibre optic cable much closer to residential properties, using a small box called a ‘Remote Node’ that effectively acts like a miniature cabinet.
The remote node can be positioned on telegraph poles, inside manholes or in a variety of other locations, meaning it can potentially be deployed where space is at a premium like parts of central London – or where the traditional approach is too complex or expensive to achieve, like Rotherhithe and Bermondsey.
FTTrN is part of BT’s toolkit of innovative technologies designed to expand the reach of fibre broadband.
Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access at BT Group, said: “This trial demonstrates our commitment to keep pushing the boundaries and investing in our open network. Areas like Rotherhithe present us with a unique technological and physical challenge, but this trial is a precursor to further announcements we’ll be making in the coming months as we seek to meet that challenge. We’re pleased to be working closely with Southwark Council on this project and we look forward to seeing how the trial progresses.”
Councillor Peter John, Labour Leader for Southwark Council, said: “Slow broadband speeds are a frustrating issue facing residents in Rotherhithe. The council has been working closely with BT to find ways to bring superfast broadband to Rotherhithe and it is welcome news that BT is trialling new technologies which might deliver superfast broadband to places that are harder to serve.”
Val Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, said: “We’ve been working closely with BT over several months to discuss these trials, and this is a positive step in enabling Rotherhithe residents to get access to superfast broadband.
“Openreach brings the advantage of choice and competition amongst a wide range of Internet Service Providers, and we are encouraging local people to formally express an interest in getting superfast broadband via the Openreach website. We know there is huge interest in speeding up Rotherhithe’s Broadband, but it’s important that we demonstrate that if we want to encourage more trials and infrastructure investment in future.”
i The EU definition of ‘superfast broadband’ is ‘more than 30Mbps’ downstream
For further information
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