Openreach partners with Huawei and Nokia for G.fast rollout
23 September 2016 | James Pearce
Openreach has named Huawei and Nokia as equipment suppliers to support the rollout of its ultrafast broadband network in the UK.
The two companies have been working with BT’s infrastructure arm to trial G.fast technology in Huntingdon, Gosforth and Swansea. The technology optimises an existing copper network using switches, modems and cabinet side posts to deliver download speeds up to 330Mbps – more than 20 times the current UK average.
The new technology will be rolled out in Gillingham and Cherry Hinton later this year as part of Openreach’s ambitions to deliver ultrafast broadband of at least 100Mbps to more than 12 million homes by 2021.
Jeff Wang, president of Huawei Access network, said: “Huawei has been working with Openreach for many years and we are looking forward to continuing the partner relationship through the G.fast contract. Huawei’s investment and innovation in G.fast will help Openreach to deploy ultrafast broadband from the street cabinet instead of the distribution point, making the business case viable for a large scale rollout and accelerating the rollout speed.”
BT had also carried out trials with Alcatel-Lucent, prior to its $16.6 billion merger with Nokia, which closed in January.
Cormac Whelan, CEO Nokia UK and Ireland said: “Openreach’s selection of Nokia is a testament to excellent performance in the trials underlined by our world class vectoring capability. We know that G.fast is the key to quickly rolling out ultrafast broadband. We’re excited about our cooperation with Openreach and are confident that our innovation, strength and operational expertise will benefit all broadband subscribers in the UK.”
More than 91% of homes and businesses in the UK currently have access to speeds of 24Mbps and above. Openreach also has a fibre network, which is available to more than 25 million premises.
More than 100 different communications providers offer services running over Openreach’s wholesale fibre network, and the firm said all of these CPs will have access to the new ultrafast services under the same terms, conditions and pricing.
However, BT and Openreach have came under fire from rivals for using G.fast, claiming the infrastructure needs to be made structurally separate from its parent company. In July, UK regulator Ofcom proposed that BT and Openreach become “legally separate” entities.
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “Openreach is pioneering G.fast technology because we want to get affordable ultrafast speeds to as many people as possible in the fastest possible time.
“We also want to deliver this next generation of broadband services in the most efficient and least disruptive way – so it is a testament to our world leading R&D team that they’ve managed to define and drive new standards with operators and equipment manufacturers around the globe.
“This country already has the best superfast broadband coverage and take-up amongst the big economies in Europe, and we want to repeat that success with ultrafast. We’ll be going flat out to reach 12 million homes by 2020 and we are really leading the way by bringing cutting-edge kit to the UK at a huge scale.”