Openreach conducts ‘first-ever’ 25G PON tests
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
(Credit: Nokia)

BT-owned Openreach has announced it has teamed up with Nokia to conduct what it claims will be the UK's first-ever tests of 25G passive optical network (PON) full-fibre.

According to the broadband giant, the new full-fibre technology “could deliver ultra-reliable broadband services that are 10 times faster than today's UK standard deployments”.

The Nokia-designed 25G PON technology, first trialled in Belgium by Proximus earlier this year, is capable of delivering download speeds of 25Gbps over a single optical fibre.

Openreach claims it can run the new technology on the same underlying network infrastructure that it has across the UK. According to Nokia’s fixed networks’ president Sandy Motley, “[our] Quillion chip allows [Nokia] to have a solution that supports three generations of PON technology from a single platform that is already in the Openreach network”.

Nokia’s system utilises 25G PON technology that includes high-capacity Lightspan access nodes for massive scale fibre roll-outs as well as 25G/10G optical cards and fibre modems.

Lightspan nodes are traditionally employed to connect up thousands of users via optical fibre between telecom central offices, aggregating their broadband traffic and sending it deeper into the network. For the Proximus trial, Nokia connected the port-based Havenhuis building with the Proximus central office in the city centre of Antwerp.

The UK tests will be the first ever “field trial” of the technology. It will start at Openreach’s Adastral Park lab in Ipswich before expanding to what the duo described as a range of "bandwidth-hungry locations".

Peter Bell, network technology director at Openreach, said: “As the country’s largest digital infrastructure provider, it is crucial that we continue to plan, innovate and evolve our network, to make sure we have the capacity and capabilities that the UK needs in the future.

“The full-fibre network we are building today is going to be the platform for the UK’s economic, social and environmental prosperity, and these trials prove that we can keep upgrading the speeds and services our customers experience over that network for decades to come.”

Earlier this week, regulator Ofcom published a consultation on a new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) pricing offer that Openreach intends to introduce from 1 October.

Having reviewed new 10-year pricing arrangements for Openreach’s FTTP services, known as the ‘Equinox’ offer, the regulator has decided no action is needed under the wholesale fixed telecoms market review rules.

As part of the switch to full-fibre, Openreach has also continued its campaign of switching off traditional copper network locations. A further 86 locations have been converted as part of the BT-owned firm’s plan to stop selling copper-based broadband and traditional voice services across the UK by 2025.

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