Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]
BT has announced that Deddington, a village in Oxfordshire is to become its first testing ground for its fibre-only exchange program. Deddington is a small rural exchange serving approximately 1,400 people and so it is a compact location for a pilot program.
This comes as part of a plan to replace copper based services throughout the UK so that customers can benefit from faster broadband speeds. It’s a great thing for Deddington, but you may still have to wait until it is rolled out in your neightbourhood as copper based services are expected to be available for many years to come in some locations.
Openreach, BT’s local network division, will start infrastructure work in the spring of 2012 and new ultra-fast broadband speeds will be available to the residents and businesses in Deddington from 2013 onwards.
According to BT, downstream speeds of between (up to) 40Mbps and (up to) 300Mbps will be available to all homes and businesses in the village whilst upstream speeds will also be significantly faster than at present.
Councillor Jim Flux, Chairman of Deddington Parish Council, looks forward to the change:
“We are excited to be the first community in the UK to be piloting this latest innovation in telecommunications. Not only will our residents and businesses be able to take advantage of ultra-fast broadband speeds but Deddington is also helping pave the way for the services of the future”
Currently villagers can only receive maximum broadband speeds of around 6-8Mbps. However, the pilot will enable residents to enjoy faster media downloads, improved online gaming, better HD experiences and video or VoIP calls. A village resident told The Next Web, “At the moment, most of the broadband in people’s homes is not very good.”
The pilot will provide communication providers in Deddington with the opportunity to build and test a suite of new products that will run over fibre alone. Sean Williams, Group Strategy Director of BT says:
“Fresh advances in technology are pushing the boundaries for new services on an almost daily basis. This is an important pilot which will help the industry better understand the opportunities arising from a fibre-only world in which traditional copper will be replaced by the super-fast capabilities of fibre-optic cable.”
Why choose fibre over copper?
Telecomms companies are advertising the change from copper to fibre as a good thing for customers because it is faster. So, what does that mean?
Essentially, fibre optics use pulses of light to carry data along plastic wires and copper wires transmit electrical currents. When a service is deemed to be faster, it is relating to the speed at which data is transferred.
Copper cables are more delicate and damage can slow down the speed at which data travels. Fibre cables are more tolerant and are said to carry consistently higher levels of data with fewer interruptions. Using fibre optics means that there is less degradation over distance too, so the general result is faster and more reliable.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.