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BT plots G.fast 500Mbps broadband for UK

Trials for the new broadband tech, which BT says will reach 'most homes' in the UK, are due to start this summer.

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Speeds will hit a "few hundred megabits per second" by 2020, BT says. BT

BT is plotting a new broadband technology for the UK, with trials due to start within the year.

The ultrafast broadband is called G.fast, which is a technology that serves as an upgrade to existing DSL copper phone lines, promising speeds of up to 500Mbps. BT says it's expecting the new tech will be deployed to most of the UK within a decade.

That's quite a long time to wait, although BT will start testing G.fast this summer in roughly 4,000 homes and businesses in two locations -- Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle.

Speeds customers can expect to achieve using the new tech will depend on how close BT's G.fast network equipment is to their homes. Speeds are expected to hit a "few hundred megabits per second" by 2020, BT said in a press release, and will then increase to 500Mbps as new hardware is developed.

"We believe G.fast is the key to unlocking ultrafast speeds and we are prepared to upgrade large parts of our network should the pilots prove successful," BT boss Gavin Peterson said in a statement.

Last year broadband watchdog Ofcom said that the UK's average actual broadband download speed in the six months leading up to May 2014 was 18.7Mbps. BT placed second place in that survey in terms of fastest download speed by provider, losing out to Virgin Media.

Meanwhile BT is making more immediate waves in the UK mobile scene, having confirmed its intention to buy mobile network EE for a whopping £12.5 billion. In the wake of that deal, Three's owner is plotting to buy O2 from Telefonica, and Sky has said it will launch its own mobile network.