BT is to test a new copper-based technology in Scotland as it looks to boost broadband speeds in rural areas.

The operator said Long Reach VDSL operates at higher power levels and makes use of a wider range of frequencies to increase broadband speeds and the distance over which they can be delivered.

In June, Openreach CEO Clive Selley said the tech, which it is developing in partnership with Huawei, “disproportionally” improves speeds on lines that are up to 2.5km from the cabinet.

The company has chosen North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis for the proof-of-concept trial.

It said it plans to hold further trials “in a number of locations” around the UK.

“Getting faster speeds to rural communities is one of my biggest priorities, so testing new solutions in the field like this is a crucial part of that process,” said Selley.

“This is a British innovation story, and our world class labs are pioneering a technology which could improve speeds for thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland and the rest of the UK – particularly those connected by long lines that are between 2.5km and 3.5km away from the cabinet.

“Our lab tests prove that Long Reach VDSL has the potential to significantly boost speeds over such lines, which are typically found in remote parts of the UK.”

News of the trial comes as Openreach customers Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone continue to criticise the company for sweating their copper assets rather than focusing on FTTH.

BT is rolling out pure fibre networks; in June it revealed small and medium sized enterprises in six UK towns and cities will get access to Openreach’s new FTTH network next year.

However, FTTC-based technology, which includes G.fast as well as variants of VDSL, is cheaper.

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