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Zen Internet to take part in BT’s up to 700Mbps G.fast trial

Zen Internet will be taking part in live trials of BT’s triple-digit G.fast technology. 

The emerging tech has delivered download speeds of over 700Mbps in lab conditions and is currently being put through its paces in the wild. 

Trials in Swansea, Gosforth and Huntingdon have been set up to see how the technology in the real world and last month, BT annoucned that it would be inviting other ISPs to come to the G.fast party. 

Zen Internet, which sells ADSL, FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) via BT’s Openreach has announced that it’s taking part in the G.fast trials. 

Related: Inside BT’s ultrafast G.fast test labAndrew Sayle, broadband product manager for Zen Internet told industry blog ISP Review that the trials would involve a small number of customers and would begin later this month. Sayle said: 

“We want to see how these new broadband services perform in real-world scenarios, so have already made contact with customers in Huntingdon and Gosforth to get them prepared for the start of the trial later this month.

“We hope that, shortly after the trial, these technologies can be made available to our wider customer base, as it really will herald a new level of broadband experience. We’re excited to be one of just a handful of providers able to offer this trial to customers.”

A total of eight ISPs are involved in the G.fast trials, with BT’s retail arm presumably one of them. 

Sayle also revealed that Zen will be trialling BT’s revamped Fibre on Demand product – the business-only service that lets you convert the copper last mile of an FTTC line into an FTTP one. 

Unlike previous trials of this product, the top speed possible the full fibre line will jump to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) instead of the 330Mbps top speed previously achievable. 

Zen sees both technologies as crucial to the future of broadband services in the UK. “As the technology we use in our personal and professional lives progresses, customers are demanding more bandwidth to power more complex devices,” Sayle said. 

“There are only two ways of doing that; you can build new fibre connections into the ground – which is costly and can mean a lot of upheaval – or you can utilise newer technologies, which is where G.Fast and FOD2 [Fibre on Demand] come in. 

While G.fast can deliver download speeds far beyond what’s possible on BT’s FTTC lines, which are currently capped at 80Mbps – like that technology, speed degrades over distance. 

Speeds over FTTP lines don’t suffer from this same problem, but the cost and inconvenience of deploying fibre all the way to a customer’s home, especially in built up urban areas, means it’s far more likely that folks will be able to order G.fast-based products than FTTP, at least in the short term. 

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