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 BT has achieved broadband speeds of 5Gbps over existing copper lines during trials of its experimental XG.fasttechnology.

XG.fast, a potential future development of BT’s existing G.fast that promises speeds of up to 1Gbps over existing copper lines, is in the early stages of lab testing at Adastral Park, BT’s global research and development campus in Suffolk, and Alcatel-Lucent’s labs in Antwerp.

While still in the early stages, BT has been quick to boast that the technology has already exceeded expectations, delivering average speeds of 5.6Gbps over 35 metres of cable and speeds of 1.8Gbps over 100 metres.

Mike Galvin, managing director of next-generation access at BT’s Technology Service & Operations division, said: “These are exciting results. We know that G.fast will transform the UK’s broadband landscape but these results also give us confidence that the technology has significant headroom should we need it in the future.

“The UK already boasts the biggest fibre footprint among major European nations, as well as the highest take-up, but it is vital we continue to invest.

“That is why we have announced plans to get ultrafast broadband to 10 million premises by the end of 2020 and to most of the UK by 2025. G.fast is the ideal technology as it can be deployed at scale and speed, allowing as many people to benefit as soon as possible.

Many have argued that technologies like G.fast and XG.fast will simply delay the inevitable requirement to upgrade to all-fibre networks, but Galvin said that copper still plays an important role, citing Australia as an example.

“Fibre-to-the-premises technology has a role to play and Openreach has the largest such network in the UK, but G.fast is the answer if the UK is to have widespread and affordable ultrafast broadband sooner rather than later,” he explained.

“Those who argue otherwise aren’t being realistic and should look at Australia where the authorities have changed tack on their fibre deployment and followed our example.”

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