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BT trials 'hyper-fast' 10Gbps broadband in Cornwall

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BT is running a trial of the world's fastest working broadband in a live environment in Cornwall.

Cornwall-based engineering firm Arcol UK Ltd, which until only recently got by with just a 1.5Mbps internet connection, has been chosen as the test site for the first ever trial of a 10Gbps, or 'hyper-fast', broadband in a live working environment.

This will work in tandem with BT's existing trial of 330Mbps broadband in Cornwall over the same fibre network.

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The 10Gbps proof of concept trial uses new fibre technology called XGPON - or Tens of Gigabits on a Passive Optical Network - that has been developed by Chinese firm ZTE in collaboration with BT Openreach.

Arcol is connected via a direct fibre link from its offices to BT's exchange in Truro. It is the first business in the country to enjoy the record-breaking speeds, accessing more bandwidth than was used at the highest peak for the entire London Olympics media network.

Even though Arcol's direct link to the Truro exchange is 10Gbps, the company isn't actually connected to the wider internet at 10Gbps as there is nothing that can be done on the web at that speed.

But the demonstration is intended to show how faster speeds can be provided over Cornwall's fibre infrastructure in the future by upgrading the network infrastructure and end-user equipment.

Ranulf Scarbrough, the programme director for the Cornwall SuperFast Broadband Programme, said: "What is exciting about this trial is that these hyper-fast speeds have been obtained over exactly the same fibre that carries BT's fibre broadband services today. All we are doing is changing the electronics at either end.

"This trial shows we are thinking and ready for the future even though there are no current plans to deploy this technology.

"A lot of this project is about future proofing - making sure that it's not just the fastest speeds today but that we can continue to be at the cutting edge for 5, 10, 20 years."

The 10Gbps trial runs over the high speed fibre optic network established by the Superfast Cornwall Programme, a broadband partnership between the EU, BT and Cornwall Council, which has made fibre optic internet available to over 100,000 Cornish homes and businesses.

Until recently, Arcol's 40 staff had to share a 1.5Mbps internet connection, but the programme has upgraded its business park to 330Mbps, and now the firm has moved on to the world-leading 10Gpbs.

Alun Morgan, technical director at Arcol, said that the ability to connect at such fast speeds was "opening the door" to new business initiatives.

He added: "We are still only just discovering the sorts of things we can do with these speeds, such as taking advantage of services like videoconferencing and using a cloud-based ERP system so we can access this information elsewhere, and it has enabled us to be much more efficient and aggressive."

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