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BT has launched a fight back against newcomer CityFibre with new trials that it claims show that ultra fast broadband can be delivered via a mix of fibre and copper.

It was previously thought that speeds of up to one Gigabit per second would need a dedicated business line or a fibre optic cable to be laid all the way from a telephone exchange to the premises, which can be expensive, disruptive and time consuming.

But BT’s regional director for York & Humber Tom Keeney said the group is greatly encouraged by the potential of Fibre To The Distribution Point (FTTdp) technology – where fibre is rolled out to telephone poles close to homes and businesses.

During the trials, Mr Keeney said that downstream speeds of around 800Mbps were achieved over a 19m length of copper.

“We are pushing the boundaries further,” he said.

“Previously we only thought we could do it with fibre optic cable. That’s expensive to do and quite disruptive. Our technologists have been using copper and fibre together to create really good, high speeds.”

The new research comes after network specialist CityFibre unveiled plans to turn York into the UK’s first Gigabitcity. CityFibre’s chief executive officer Greg Mesch has described BT’s copper infrastructure as “Victorian age”.

Yesterday Mr Keeney said BT welcomed the competition.

“We are working with the Government to take broadband further out to more rural communities. We’re working across Yorkshire.”

BT is investing £2.5bn to roll fibre out to two-thirds of the UK. It is working with five local authorities in Yorkshire to create Superfast West Yorkshire, Superfast North Yorkshire, Broadband East Riding, Northern Lincs Broadband and an as yet un-named roll out in South Yorkshire.

In a separate announcement CityFibre said its first-half results beat expectations, with revenue up 46 per cent to £1.3m.