Openreach and Huawei trial fastest Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband technology in European first


Openreach, BT’s local network business, and Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, have become the first companies in Europe to trial an exciting new broadband technology which could super-charge speeds for businesses and consumers in the future.

Pioneering breakthrough for the UK’s digital infrastructure

First simultaneous demo of 40Gbps ‘NG-PON2’, 10Gbps ‘XGS-PON’ and 2.5Gbps ‘GPON’ over a single fibre

Openreach, BT’s local network business, and Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, have become the first companies in Europe to trial an exciting new broadband technology which could super-charge speeds for businesses and consumers in the future.

The trial involved a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connection running between the University of Suffolk, Ipswich Exchange, and BT’s world renowned R&D centre at Adastral Park. It saw 40Gbps, 10Gbps and 2.5Gbps speeds delivered simultaneously over a single fibre optic cable.

The most common FTTP technologies in the UK today offer maximum speeds of up to 330Mbps, with a single fibre transmitting 2.5Gbps of capacity, which is then shared between customers. But this latest breakthrough shows that much greater capacity of 40Gbps and 10Gbps can be supported along the same fibre, demonstrating how FTTP networks can be future-proofed to stay well ahead of prospective demand for bandwidth.

The different technologies use separate wavelengths, meaning that all three can operate seamlessly on the same fibre network, known as “co-existence”. This demonstrates not only how operators can flex to meet ultrafast speeds in the future, but also the latent capability of network that Openreach has already deployed.

The University of Suffolk has been using the service for the past two weeks allowing them the high bandwidths required for today’s demanding research. During the next phase of testing the University will use the high bandwidth for streaming lectures, designing games, and delivering online courses – amongst other services.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “Superfast speeds are now available to 9 out of 10 homes and businesses and we're taking fibre further. We're also excited to be bringing the country ultrafast speeds.

“We’ll be taking ultrafast to up to 12 million UK premises by the end of 2020, and to the majority by 2025. But it’s also vital that we continue to look even further into the future, and prepare for increasing data consumption over our network. That’s what this trial is all about.

“The trial proves that not only is our FTTP network fit for the future, but with the right equipment in the customer’s home and at the exchange, we can tailor speeds to suit their individual requirements. So whether you’re a small business specialising in graphic design or a keen gamer using UHD and virtual reality, we’ll make sure your communications provider can offer you the speeds and value for money services that you need.

“I’m looking forward to discussing this technology breakthrough further with our communications providers to see how it could help shape their future plans.”

Jeff Wang, president of Huawei Access network, said: “Huawei has been running an Innovation program with Openreach for many years and we are looking forward to continuing the partner relationship for the future. Huawei’s investment and innovation in both fibre and copper based technologies will help Openreach to deploy the ultrafast broadband to serve the UK public for many years to come and help achieve Openreach ambitions of passing 10 million homes with G.fast and up to a further 2 million homes with FTTP by 2020.”

Peter O’Rourke, Director of IT at University of Suffolk, said: “The University is proud to partner with industry and so welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Huawei and Openreach to demonstrate these exciting new technologies.”

Today, more than 91% of homes and businesses in the UK have access to superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above[1], whilst the Openreach fibre network is available to 26 million homes and businesses. More than 100 different communications providers (CPs) are offering services over the company’s open wholesale fibre network, and all CPs have access to superfast and ultrafast services under the same terms, conditions and pricing.

The company will make ultrafast speeds available to as many as 12 million premises by the end of 2020, using a mixture of FTTP and G.fast technologies.


For further information

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 on our web site.

Notes to Editors

NG-PON2, XGS-PON and GPON are ITU standards.

40Gbps ‘NG-PON2’- Next-Generation Passive Optical Network 2.

10Gbps ‘XGS-PON’ - 10 Gigabit Capable Symmetric Passive Optical Network.

2.5Gbps ‘GPON’ – Gigabit Passive Optical Networks.

About Openreach

Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to enrich life and improve efficiency through a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society, and collaborative contributor to the industry. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 170,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

[1]Thinkbroadband data