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BT is to pilot new technology in the City of London, in a bid to increase access to super-fast broadband in hard-to-access urban locations.

The firm is to trial its innovative 'fibre-to-the-basement' solution in two buildings from January 2015, providing fibre broadband to 225 homes in the Middlesex Street Estate and around 50 small businesses based at 65 London Wall.

They will have access to up to 80Mb download speeds, delivered by one of more than 100 different broadband providers.

More than 90 per cent of London’s homes and businesses can access fibre broadband deals; however, a small minority of inner-city buildings are served by ‘exchange-only’ lines.

As such, they only have access to up to 20Mb connections, which have been overtaken by more advanced lines in recent years.

Local planning restrictions can make new street cabinets tricky to install, but BT hopes the 'fibre-to-the-basement' could offer a solution.

Graham Bell, Chief Information Officer of the City of London Corporation, said businesses are "keener than ever to be well-connected".

He claimed that the pilot is "a welcome step forwards" for companies, especially smaller firms, which are "critical to London’s commercial dynamism".

"We hope the trials will lead to further expansion of fibre broadband across the Square Mile for residents and small enterprises, complementing the Ethernet infrastructure already available to larger firms," Mr Bell added.

Joe Garner, Chief Executive of Openreach, said the firm - BT's infrastructure arm - is constantly exploring new ways to deliver fibre broadband to residential customers into city-centres.

"City-centre locations present unique challenges when it comes to upgrading consumer broadband," he noted.

"For example, there is less room for us to install a fibre cabinet on the pavement, and it is often harder to get permission to close roads to do the work. We also need to secure permission from multiple landlords to run new cables across their land and properties."

Mr Garner added that Openreach is "optimistic" that the new solution will offer fast, smooth and economically-sound broadband deployments, which offer limited, if any, disruption to the general public.

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