BT claims copper wire is capable of providing gigabit internet speeds

For many years now fibre-optic internet has been rolling out across the country. It’s been slow, partly because it requires replacing the copper wires that link the distribution centre and people’s homes and that takes time and resources. But BT says that it’s possible to get faster speeds without having to do that.

BT claims to have successfully tested what it calls the ‘fibre to the distribution centre’ which uses a part-copper network to provide speeds of up to 1 Gbps and negates the need for individual homes to be wired into a fibre-optic network. Instead the fibre connection only goes to telegraph poles and junction boxes.

BT claim that tests allowed them to send 800 Mbps over 19 metres of copper wire, with 200 Mbps left over for uploading. Apparently extending the length of copper to 66 metres only reduced the download speed to 700 Mbps. Upload speed was unaffected.

Apparently this system will work for 80 per cent of existing connections in the UK and will provide a much cheaper way of bringing super-fast internet into people’s homes. When the system will be adopted into mainstream use is unclear, but BT claims that its R&D team are working on ways that it could be implemented.

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Tom Pritchard