BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson lamented the increase in uncertainty that Brexit and the UK General Election result was causing around R&D collaboration with Europe, as the company’s research team announced it had hit a new FTTP speed record.

Speaking at BT’s R&D centre on the first day of the operator’s Innovation Week, Patterson said that there was a “big risk” with Brexit.

“R&D is one of the things that the UK continues to be a world leader in. Our universities are amongst the best in the world,” Patterson said.

“At its heart, the best research is a collaborative experience. So ensuring that we continue to attract the best scientists and engineers to this country and that they’re able to get the right funding and that they are able to access the right networks is, I think, really key.

“The government had called this out as a priority for the Brexit negotiations because the UK does extraordinarily well out of the current EC funding models because our universities are so strong.”

The CEO said the UK needed to ensure it doesn’t lose this competitive edge in the Brexit negotiations.

However, in a brief reference to the results of the UK’s General Election on 8 June, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly lose her parliamentary majority, Patterson said uncertainty had increased.

“If it was unstable and uncertain this time last week it’s gone up a notch now,” he said.

This is not the first time that BT has sounded a note of concern on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Last October, Openreach CEO Clive Selley voiced fears that a “hard” Brexit could hinder efforts to hire people from Europe to help with its broadband rollout.

This was backed up by an April report from the Broadband Stakeholder Group, which warned that broadband deployments in the UK relied heavily on low-skilled workers from Europe.

Such uncertainty is the last thing BT needs as it looks to push through a complex legal separation of its Openreach arm, which has responsibility for rolling out the bulk of UK’s broadband infrastructure.

Openreach, under pressure to improve performance to customers such as Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone, is also being pressed by rivals such as Virgin Media and newcomers including CityFibre.

Facing criticism for relying on copper-based technology – it is backing G.Fast to connect 10 million homes and businesses – Openreach last year stepped up its FTTP rollout plans with a target of two million premises by 2020.

[Read more: BT attempts to ram home the merits of multi broadband tech strategy]

At Adastral, Openreach showcased what it claimed was a world first “live demonstration” of a 100GBps broadband service that it has developed in partnership with Huawei.

Using a standard residential FTTP connection with advanced transmission technology, the operator said it offered speeds that were around 100 times faster than those currently on offer.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “The trial proves that not only is our FTTP network fit for the future, but with the right equipment in the customer’s home and at the exchange, we can tailor speeds to suit their individual needs.

“So whether you’re a small business specialising in graphic design or a keen gamer using UHD and virtual reality, we’ll be working to make sure your communications provider can offer you the speeds and value for money services that you need.”

BT also showcased a 400GBps single-carrier based technology solution that can transmit large amounts of data on fibre-optic cables.

The latest advance in BT’s Superchannel concept, which uses high spectral efficiency to deliver fast speeds on core networks, was trialled on a 250km fibre optic loop.

BT engineers expect the technique will be able to deliver speeds of over 13TBps in the future, the equivalent of downloading up to 500 HD films in one second.

Tim Whitley, BT’s MD of Research & Innovation, said: “This trial proves that we can release even more capacity from fibre optic infrastructures by further boosting the efficiency of light transmitted over a single strand of glass.

“Although there isn’t a need for multi-terabit speeds in the core network just yet, we want to stay ahead of the game and ensure that the core network is ready to support the performance that our customers might demand in the future.”

More News

Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad has acquired football rights in France and launched its opco in Italy as it looks to reboot after a disappointing set of financial results. More detail
Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO The departure of Three UK's Chief Commercial Officer after just 18 months in the job has triggered a shake-up of the mobile operator's top team. More detail
TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk has agreed to sell 80,000 business customers to rival Daisy Group in a £175 million deal. More detail
A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria Bulgaria is the third A1 Telekom Austria Group opco to get rebranded as the telco looks to market itself as a provider of "advanced" IT, IoT, cloud and content services. More detail
Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services has expanded its work with Dobroflot by developing a customised IoT solution for the Russian fishing company. More detail


European Communications is now
Mobile Europe and European Communications


From June 2018, European Communications magazine 
has merged with its sister title Mobile Europe, into 
Mobile Europe and European Communications.

No more new content is being published on this site - 

for the latest news and features, please go to: