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Superfast Cornwall: Fibre Broadband Speed Tests

Superfast Cornwall: World’s first 10Gbps live trial demoed

Our minds might have been blown the other day by Bangor University’s discovery that 20Gbps can be piped through current-level fibre optic lines but today we’ve been treated to a world first, a live trial of 10Gbps consumer broadband in the workplace.

Arcol Resistors, a component manufacturer based in Threemilestone, Cornwall, was one of the first businesses to really benefit from the Superfast Cornwall project.

The company was before limping along with a 1.5Mbps connection before being handed an FTTP line which gave them download speeds of 92Mbps.

Superfast Cornwall: World’s first 10Gbps live trial demoed

Now the company is regularly using 330Mbps which enables members of staff to regularly work from home thanks to the freedom offered by cloud solutions. Arcol co-founder Alun Morgan said “Anything to do with the cloud I would have previously considered a joke,” and talked of plans to enable company reps to sell products to interested third parties online at trade events.

Today Superfast Cornwall and ZTE reps demoed a 10Gbps service on the same line which is currently providing Arcol a 330Mbps service. The 10Gbps XGPON is a technical demo, a proof-of-concept to show that it could be rolled out into workplaces easily on the Superfast Cornwall network and by extention, BT’s fibre network too.


Superfast Cornwall: No wireless, 4G or white space: Satellite and bonded lines for the last 10 per cent

Superfast Cornwall won’t be using wireless, 4G or white space to bring broadband to the last 10 per cent.
Instead, satellite broadband and advanced ADSL broadband will be used to drive better speeds to those areas that won’t be immediately getting FTTC or FTTP.

Satellite broadband will serve a minority of the last 10 per cent – 1-2 per cent, or roughly 20,000 people – withthe rest getting 1-2Mbps delivered with bonded copper lines.

Superfast Cornwall: No wireless, 4G or white space: Satellite and bonded lines for the last 10 per cent

Bonded lines will help deliver a basic service over 12km distances to homes which haven’t been able to get anything resembling broadband before.

Jeremy Steventon Barnes, Network Director for Superfast Cornwall said that the plan is to closely investigate these last 20,000 and see if FTTC or FTTP can’t be offered in some cases.

Dr Ranulf Scarborough, Director of Superfast Cornwall added that “the last couple of per cent will be really hard [to supply with fibre] but we’ll see some rural FTTP in some extraordinary, unexpected places.”

Superfast Cornwall is also looking at trialling ‘broadband regenerators’ that boost the speed of existing ADSL lines. Working on copper lines up to 8 km long, these can provide speed boosts of up to 3-5Mbps for subscribers.

After the 2015 deadline, the plan is that the FTTP On Demand trial will have finished and all customers in Cornwall no connected to some form of fibre broadband will be offered FTTP On Demand.



The village of Trispen was once a broadband not-spot, connected to the exchange at Truro five miles away.

Since Superfast Cornwall installed FTTC in the area, average speeds have leapt from around 0.25-0.5Mbps to 30-65Mbps in houses a few hundred metres from the cabinet.

Chairman of St. Erme Parish Council Robert Trethewey said the chief complaint from residents was the non-existence of broadband. Now faster speeds are here, it’s “given people a chance to work from home if they wish and for local children to access the Internet more easily.”

Previously, the local school and a car showroom where among the few places where decent broadband speeds were available.

By running a new higher grade fibre line through existing ducts, Superfast Cornwall was able to bring up to 80Mbps speeds in an area where even 8Mbps was considered a pipe dream two years ago.

Superfast Cornwall: Fibre Broadband Speed Tests


We’re down in Cornwall for the day to see what Superfast Cornwall and BT have been up to and how next-gen fibre-based broadband services are changing lives and affecting local businesses.

We’ll be updating throughout the day but first of all thought we’d like to share some quick speed test results, conducted from our hotel room at the Driftwood Spars hotel in St. Agnes.

Sadly we weren’t able to plug into the router directly and perform a speed test under more forensic conditions but we think that being able to get on average 20Mbps download speeds from our room on the first floor was pretty amazing.

Superfast Cornwall: Fibre Broadband Speed Tests

Using and Ookla we were also seeing upload speeds on average of 5Mbps and a ping of 40ms (based on tests with servers located in London and Bournemouth).

Hotel WiFi is notoriously not-that-great so it was a relief to be able to use something that actually worked for once…

The Driftwood Spars hotel was one of the first local businesses to take advantage of Superfast Cornwall deploying FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) in the area. Landlady Lou Treseder told us how the new tech was able to see the hotel offer guests online wine-tasting sessions with Gordon Russell of Esk Valley Wines in New Zealand, where guests sip wine while the maker talks them through the fermenting process.

It’s just one example of how better broadband infrastructure has changed things for one local business – a Skype video call would have been previously impossible.

We’ll be updating with more from Superfast Cornwall and BT throughout the day when we visit a former broadband not spot in the village of Trispen and the Truro exchange.

November 8, 2012

Update: This article originally stated that satellite broadband would serve the majority of the last 10 per cent in Cornwall, when in fact bonded lines will serve the majority of the 10 per cent, with satellite broadband serving the remaining 1-2 per cent. This has been corrected.


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