BT plans fiber to the basement trial in London

BT says it plans to try out a new fiber to the basement technique in a pair of buildings within the City of London beginning in January 2015. The carrier says it developed and funded the technology under test itself.

BT says it plans to try out a new fiber to the basement technique in a pair of buildings within the City of London beginning in January 2015. The carrier says it developed and funded the technology under test itself.

The trial will see 225 homes in the Middlesex Street Estate and around 50 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) based at 65 London Wall provided access to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps from more than 130 different service providers. If the trial is successful, the technology could be deployed around the country.

While it did not provide many details of the approach, BT says it seeks a means of connecting inner city buildings served by "exchange-only" lines that can't be reached through BT's usual street cabinets because of a lack of space. For other applications where the cost and inconvenience of installing such street cabinets may be otherwise prohibitive, the technology may apply as well, BT says.

Installing the necessary fiber-optic broadband gear into a building basement or communications room instead of a street cabinet would significantly reduce the need for street infrastructure, public civil engineering works, and road closures, BT points out.

"All businesses are keener than ever to be well-connected and this 'fiber-to-basement' pilot is a welcome step forwards, especially for smaller SMEs, who are critical to London’s commercial dynamism," said Graham Bell, CIO of the City of London Corp. "We hope the trials will lead to further expansion of fiber broadband across the Square Mile for residents and SMEs, complementing the Ethernet infrastructure already available to larger firms."

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