BT Openreach is preparing new up-to-330Mbps and 80Mbps fibre-to-the-premises services for broadband providers to launch as early as June.
The broadband infrastructure operator is looking for broadband providers to take part in short technical trials and pilots in May before a full launch.
Up to 150 customers will be able to enjoy several weeks of free fibre-to-the-premises broadband – and free installation – during the trial.
Some will get the new Premium 300Mbps service, running at 330Mbps downstream and either 20Mbps or 30Mbps upstream; a few will try a new 80Mbps down/20Mbps up connection.
BT Openreach said: “They are Openreach’s new speed bandwidth offerings, which allows a Communications Provider to offer end users different downstream speed combinations.
“We’re keen to ensure that we are bringing the fastest speeds available to our customers as quickly as we can.
“The timing looks right with technology and potential industry demand coming together to allow us to test technical and commercial viability.”
300Mbps fibre pilot details
The trial will be run in two phases, a technical validation trial with 20 customers and a wider ‘collaborative’ pilot with 100-150 customers.
Line rental and installation of the new fibre-optic connections will be free during the trial, and customers will have to option to subscribe to the commercial service or return to their old broadband connection.
It follows the limited commercial rollout of 110Mbps fibre-to-the-premises broadband which have been running from Bradwell Abbey, Highams Park, Ilford Central, Leytonstone, Wembley and York – and will operate from the same exchanges.
By June 11, Openreach hopes to have completed the trial for an Early Market Deployment launch for selected broadband providers at limited locations.
This will pave the way for a full commercial launch about a month later across all of BT’s exchanges which are already enabled for fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband.
These cover eight million premises today, rising to 10 million by the end of this year, and are planned to reach around double that by the end of 2014.
If the trial or pilot throws up serious problems, the Early Market launch could be postponed, or the test services could be halted altogether.
BT Openreach is expected to inform broadband providers during the pilot how much the Premium 300Mbps and 80/20 services will cost.