I’m not sure how I missed this when it was announced last year. Maybe because I was living in London… Anyway, it seems that my BT exchange has been chosen for a FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) trial. This will hopefully mean speeds of up to 100Mb/s.

To put this into perspective it is important to look at the history of broadband in Milton Keynes. Due to the price of copper when the city was being built, aluminium was used for telephony which is fine for telephone but awful for internet. The city is also fairly spread out with the cables running along the city’s grid road system which increases the distance yet further. This means that many people get awful internet connection (mine is 2Mb/s but was 512Kb/s up until around a year a go) or no broadband connection at all. There is even a group set up to raise awareness of this issue – BB4MK.org.

I am hoping that Openreach use this opportunity to provide a super fast fibre connection to people, like myself, on the outside of the exchange’s frontier rather than the closer people already receiving a decent connection.

The advantage of this system over say Virgin Media’s fibre network is two fold. Firstly the connection is to the home as opposed to the cabinet road which provides faster connections – up to 100Mb at the moment but Korea, who use the same system, are trialling 1Gb connections this year. Secondly the service will be provided not just by BT, but by several ISP just like the current ADSL system. This means competition with price and fair usage policies. If left up to B.T. I could imagine them charging over the odds for a package with a 10GB usage limit. I just hope Be (the best ISP I have ever used) decide to get involved.

I have added Thinkbroadband to my RSS feeds so I’ll hopefully get an update when more information is available. The trial is scheduled to start this summer but I can’t find much information at the moment.