With the aid of UK government funding, we've seen fibre internet spread to many areas of the country over the past few years and, whilst there are still many who are wondering when the party's going to come to them, those with fibre may already know that the service they have currently is known as Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC).
FTTC delivers fibre to a nearby cabinet, where it's then routed and dispatched over copper to the home. This technique raises the initial and running costs of cabinets and, ultimately, will prove to be a speed barrier as internet speeds progress. It's with these facts in mind that BT has begun trials of XG-PON, also known as 10G-PON (10Gbit Passive Optical Network).
XG-PON is what's known as a 'last-mile' service and promises to deliver fibre right up to the house in a cost-effective manner. Fibre cable will need to be laid to the premises, however, instead of an expensive routing box. The technology involves passive splitting of datastreams (half-mirrors and such like) and so no powered and complex routing takes place in the cabinet, paving the way for cheap hardware and cheap upgrades.
This approach does have the trade-off that a single 10Gbit connection will be shared between multiple homes, with end modems tuning into an individual modulation to detect their specific portion of the signal and so, ultimately, the effectiveness of the technology will come down to the number of customers placed on the same line. There are some less obvious advantages, mind you; for example, if a single datastream is sent to multiple homes, this could be carrying IPTV at very little cost to overall bandwidth.
Right now, BT is trialing the new technology with a business customer is Cornwall, where the standard could allow the firm to deliver high-speed, dedicated connections to multiple clients/sites at a fraction of the cost. With BT dedicated internet prices as they currently stand, we certainly hope that the firm passes along any savings and pray that the technology can reach the home sometime in the near future.