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BT Detail 11th June UK Launch and Prices for 330Mbps Fibre Optic Broadband

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 (8:16 am) - Score 7,591

BTOpenreach, which manages access to BT’s national UK telecoms infrastructure, has confirmed its intention to begin offering the “fastest wholesale broadband speeds currently available” via a new “premium330Mbps (Megabits per second) capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service from 11th June 2012. The first pricing and a new 220Mbps option have also been revealed.

BT’s current FTTP service offers a maximum internet download speed of 110Mbps (30Mbps uploads), although trials are already underway in Kesgrave (Suffolk) that could one day allow BT to push its service all the way to 1Gbps (Gigabits per second). In the meantime they’ve been busy conducting trials of the 330Mbps upgrade (likely to be advertised as “300Mbps“), which curiously retains the same maximum upload speed of 30Mbps as their existing 110Mbps product.

BT has also revealed a special offer price for the services launch, which will see the wholesale cost of their 330Mbps (20Mbps upload speed) product variant being reduced by over a third until 31st January 2013. Sadly the £80 +vat one-off connection will remain in place. Orders placed for the 330/20Mb product up to the end of the special offer period of 31st January 2013 will continue to have the special rental applied to these assets for the billing period up to and including 31st January 2014.

bt 330mbps fttp uk broadband prices

It should be pointed out that the “Transition product” is only available in conjunction with an existing Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) service from BTWholesale or a MPF phone line from an unbundled (LLU) service, which reflects customers who take both a bundled broadband and phone package. As usual the above prices are what ISPs have to pay BTOpenreach and do not include VAT (20%), the ISPs needed profit margin or other crucial costs. The final price for consumers will usually be a lot higher.

BT has also confirmed that it intends to launch a new FTTP 220Mbit/s productin the new year” (i.e. 2013), although further details were not available. It should be fairly easy for BT to do this but they always conduct trials, even on slower services, before introducing a new product. No further details were available.

At present BT’s FTTP service coverage is tiny and thus only a smaller number of UK ISPs, such as BT Retail and Zen Internet, have launched packages for it. This could improve next Spring 2013 when BT introduces a new FTTP-on-Demand service that will effectively make the product available anywhere that their slower FTTC service can already go (66% of the UK by 2014, with some limitations). But this is not expected to be cheap and is aimed towards business customers.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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61 Responses
  1. adslmax says:

    Excellent. Shame about the upload speed. I’ll be getting fibre-on-demand as long as it doesn’t cost more than £1k to install.

    1. DTMark says:

      Looks like it costs £80 to replace the D-side with fibre, according to the article above. About 90 minutes maybe to pull down the old knackered bit of kit and put up a fibre link instead on the pole.

      I have a suspicion however that the identical work required for “FTTP on demand” might cost more than £80. Which is odd because at first glance it’s the same work.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      The £80 +vat price for installing a standard FTTP connection is quite impressive given that BT engineers can still take awhile to do the work itself. During the trial they managed to get it down from several days to around 6-7 hours, although I’m not sure how long it takes now (experiences do vary).

      BT suggested to us last year that the service rental for FTTP-on-Demand will be akin its current FTTP products, although I’m not sure what it will cost to install and that could be critical.

    3. FibreFred says:

      @DTMark

      90 minutes based on your experience of……. ?

  2. Adrian Chapman says:

    Sadly, some of us have only just got 21CN and a couple of LLU operators. 🙁

    1. You should consider yourself lucky. 40% of customers are still on 20CN with no LLU or 21CN based services.

    2. New_Londoner says:

      @Martin
      Are you sure? I thought at least one LLU operator was claiming > 80% (possibly even > 90%) coverage?

    3. Phil says:

      And BT is still ingorning Shropshire 100% FTTC as I blame on Shropshire county council for not bother to bring FTTC to the whole shropshire 100%. I give up already and went for Virgin Media and got great speed here: http://www.speedtest.net/result/1952123520.png

    4. Somerset says:

      TalkTalk has revealed plans to boost its UK broadband coverage to nearly 90% of the UK population by the end of the year.

      TalkTalk plans to unbundle a further 300 exchanges over the coming year resulting in over 2,000 enabled exchanges and near on 90% coverage of the UK population.

  3. Mark Jackson says:

    I doubt the vast.. vast majority of normal home users would need 330Mbps but it’s good to have the option, well at least it will be good once the coverage improves.

    1. Bob2002 says:

      @Mark Jackson –

      Users may not need the headline speed but I’m guessing fibre could be a godsend to people who might have dodgy copper lines.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes of course, although this article is about 330Mbps not just fibre optic cable generally.

  4. FibreFred says:

    £80 install sounds reasonable enough to me for a FTTP service. It will be interesting to see what the on-demand charges are

  5. DTMark says:

    @FibreFred

    Based on common sense really. Example – cab is maybe 600m away, total length of D side 1180m. Underground until the pole across the road where it pops out.

    Replace the D-side/drag a cable through the ducting, install a socket on the end and plug the other end into the fibre cab. How long can that take? If it’s to be sustainable, then either it can’t take very long, or, the prices will be so high that nobody will order it. I assume the company providing the service to many subscribers has some sort of common infrastructure that makes it easy to grow and scale.

    Even with homes with cable when I’ve been the first to order it, it does not take 7 hours to pull through the cable from the cab. More like 40 minutes. Including setting up the modem, making sure it works, and setting the power levels. All for free or about £30 or whatever it costs these days. For several services.

    Admittedly I think it’s true to say that cable cabs are nearer properties than BT ones are since they realised co-ax (copper) was not performant above a certain distance quite early on and they were trying to provide multiple modern services, not just phones. Indeed the investment in their network enabled “bundled” services like TV/Tivo, areas where BT hasn’t even really got started yet thanks to the historical lack of investment and forward-thinking (“waiting for the begging bowl to go around”). Those bundled/multiple cable services presumably help to justify the installation cost.

    If the ducting is commonly collapsed such that it takes 7+ hours to install FTTP, then BT have little stronger case for being any kind of “default provider” than anyone else/have no real advantage and we’re at the “we need to build from scratch” point in many areas, requiring all new ducting.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Based on no experience then. I could say the same for a sparky to wire 5 new sockets in my house based on how long I think it should take him, can’t be that hard, pull up a few boards, bit of drilling and a few holes in the wall etc.

      You can’t compare it to Virgin, Virgin on my street (and likely be to the same on most) has virtually empty ducting and a short distance from the cab to the home.

      If you think it takes 90mins why don’t you consult and show them the error of their ways? Based on your common sense.

  6. What? says:

    Meanwhile, in villages across Britain that BT couldn’t be arsed about…

    1. Phil says:

      I agree as BT are useless!

    2. New_Londoner says:

      @what
      More accurately “Meanwhile in villages across the UK that no company believes to be commercially attractive….”

    3. wannabeanon says:

      “7. Fujitsu, Virgin Media and TalkTalk announced a new plan in 2011 to rollout an alternative open wholesale rural broadband/telephone network for 5 Million UK homes by using, at least in part, BT’s own existing cable ducts and telegraph poles (PIA) infrastructure. What are your thoughts on this and do you think that the project will ever become a reality?

      Hyperoptic (Dana Pressman Tobak):

      We absolutely recognise the value of broadband for rural economies and appreciate the focus on providing broadband to them. These companies are clearly a committed team of players and it’s great they are looking at rolling out superfast broadband to these often ignored communities. Cost, of course, will be the biggest challenge..

      Within 10-15 years, the entire UK will be connected to fibre. Today, however, I believe we are still a long way from this goal.

      Will the project ever become a reality? I wish them luck for the sake of the communities, but I’ll be investing my money in Hyperoptic.”

  7. Phil says:

    What the point of 300/30 for ? For every days use of HD streaming and internet, 80-110 meg is more than enough for the next 5 years!

    Who need 300 Meg ?

    1. Bob H says:

      For you maybe 300Mbit/sec is too much, and for almost all domestic people there is no requirement. However for an office, especially one in the media age, 300Mbit/sec may be quite useful!

  8. Sheffield Owl says:

    I’m sure this is just the news all the sub 1mg users have been waiting for…Once again,those that have fast speeds will be getting even faster and those that are getting around 1mb will still be getting around 1mb.

    Thank God Digital Region has come to my rescue.

    1. FibreFred says:

      And thank god people in the industry aren’t so narrow minded otherwise new services would never be available. I couldn’t get Virgin cable at my old address but I wasn’t crying about others getting 10, 20, 50Mbps services

    2. New_Londoner says:

      @Sheffield Owl
      IIRC the Digital Region project has cost the taxpayer around £500,000 per user, so hopefully will not be replicated elsewhere! Good that its providing you with an option but its not exactly sustainable in its current guise.

  9. DTMark says:

    @FibreFred – “you can’t compare it to Virgin” – why not?

    Both are allegedly telecommunications companies with a local street infrastructure. One is perhaps forty years newer than the other and is all FTTC already, but that’s down to individual businesses investment decisions. BT need not have got so far behind.

    You do appear to echo my two points – length of the lines and capacity in the ducting. Those are entirely BT’s choices, nobody elses. Cable went for co-ax which will have a slightly longer lifespan perhaps since I’d understood it’s capable of 445Mbps down and 125Mbps up before the need to replace it. Then they can put fibre down those ducts to the premises if they elect to.

    BT have persisted with telephone lines instead and a policy of not touching the “last mile” at all, and so we are where we are.

    Customers will certainly compare the two. And they won’t give two hoots that BT’s ducting has collapsed and it will take seven hours to provision a service and/or cost a fortune.

    1. Somerset says:

      The Thatcher government prevented BT rolling out fibre until recently.

    2. Deduction says:

      Thatcher government and “recently”…… Have you been stuck in a time warp?

  10. FibreFred says:

    You certainly know your history DTMark, but left out the part about Ofcom handcuffing BT and not allowing them to deploy fibre until a few years ago.

    Yep line length and capacity are the ones, I watched VM hook up a property on our street last week. The distance was < 100m from the cab and it took 5 guys with 2 vans over 4 hours to hook up the property and compared to the distance for me to my BT cab it looked like an easy win so… I'd say your 90mins is way off , even for Virgin

  11. Deduction says:

    Agree with fibrefred that for a FTTH install £80 is reasonable, there is more work involved in a FTTH install than a FTTC one. Its also a service for the few rather than the majority so there should be a charge to reflect that. I do not agree ofcom handcuffed BT for years though, unless there is a record somewhere of BT going to Ofcom in the past 20 years or so since they have been a fully private company asking to deploy fibre. I highly doubt it.

    As to the FTTH “on demand” product that many are excited about, that product and this FTTH product are not the same. The on-demand product will mean running a new lot of fibre from the cabinet to a persons home. This product the fibre already reaches the pole and in some cases (where cabling is purely underground) the foot of a persons property. It thus makes sense much as we will all hate it (but it is fair) that the “on demand” product is going to cost waaaaaay more to install than this product.

    1. FibreFred says:

      This goes back to the days of Thatcher and Oftel, when Mercury entered the market they wanted to ensure the cable market could grow as a competitor and as such stopped BT rolling out fibre to allow cable companies to get a foothold in the market

    2. Deduction says:

      Sorry thats not really an excuse the Thatcher years ended in 1990, what have BT been doing between then and end of 2009 (or as good as 20 years) when the FTTC rollout started?
      Dont believe for a second since 1990 they havent been allowed.

    3. FibreFred says:

      @Deduction

      “what have BT been doing between then and end of 2009 (or as good as 20 years) when the FTTC rollout started?”

      They’ve been shackled by Ofcom who made it uneconomically viable to rollout new infrastructure based on their rules of sharing.

      BT struck a deal with them in 2009 to ensure good returns and then it began

  12. me says:

    who owns the fibre though if you pay for it. If we were to go with a different isp in a few years would we be able to drop line rental if the fibre line belongs to use, we would just be using bt’s backbone?

  13. Deduction says:

    You dont pay for the fibre you pay for the installation and activation of it. The more work involved in installing it the more you are likely to pay. You do not own any of the fibre cabling.

  14. Legolash2o says:

    Who needs 300Mbps? Surely it would be better for everyone (including BT) to focus purely on FTTC everywhere and those would want FTTP can pay for the ‘FTTP on demand’ services.

    BT should only be installing FTTP on brownfield sites and for those users willing to pay for it. FTTC should be their focus!

  15. Lemon says:

    wait wait wait, so the people who already have FTTC can get fibre to their house/business for only £80.
    Stringing it on the poles and getting the fibre from the cab into the ducts and then OH, doesnt seem it would only cost £80…

    1. New_Londoner says:

      @Lemon
      You’re right about the £80 bit, but not about this being available to all FTTC users, this is the “pure” FTTP product not the “on demand” one that is coming next year. So the £80 is to bring a fibre from o/h or a duct to you, just the very last link in the chain.

  16. Deduction says:

    BT IMO are going to have to rename the “on demand” product when it finally arrives. Its already causing some confusion as to which product is what to some people which is understandable.

    Maybe a new term… FFTC (Fibre from the Cabinet) for the ondemand service would clear it up, you would then have 3 different products with 3 CLEARLY different tags to them.

    Or maybe they could market it as a “speed boost” type product to FTTC?

    Either way even i will give them a chance first, hopefully they make it clear as to which product is which when they are all on the market.

    1. FibreFred says:

      How can it be confusing, it isn’t even available yet?

      I don’t think there will be any confusion. As far as Infinity goes it will no doubt be labelled as BT Infinity 300Mbps

      The customer doesn’t care about the FTTX part and why should they, they will be looking at the speed and usage not wires. I don’t understand why you think they customer would care how it is delivered?

  17. Deduction says:

    As i said “even i will give them a chance first, hopefully they make it clear”.

    It also even remains to be seen if the “on-demand” product will even reliably deliver 300Mbps. Once you start adding nodes/splitters/etc to things and whacking a load of customers through them (which is what will happen as it uses current cabinets) the speed attainable drops. I would not be shocked if the attainable speed for the majority on the “on demand” product is around 150-200Mbps.

    Id be willing to bet as the current FTTC product stands and grows they will have to once again reduce the advertised speed of that. ASA rules state at least 10% of users have to be able to get the advertised speed. In the case of FTTC for now the 78Mbps figure as FTTC from BT only has 550,000 users may well be true.

    However the more tests i see the less and less i see people hitting the full upto 78Mbs. When it comes to a point where most of BTs 6+million userbase (or any other ISP for that matter that uses FTTC) switch most of their users to FTTC, i doubt that 10% will still be getting maximum speeds.

    It will become an even bigger issue if they start using different profiles which allow FTTC a max of 200Mbps….. Even a smaller number will get that as you need to be within a few hundred metres of the cabinet.

    NOTE THE ABOVE IS NOT A BASH AT BT… It can apply to any ISP using FTTC or the coming soon “on-demand” products. The only way to as good as guarantee 300+ Mb speeds is via a “REAL” FTTH connection.

  18. FibreFred says:

    Can’t see a problem, if its contended they add more backhaul fibre, simple

    Cable networks well that’s another matter, but I can’t see this being a problem for FTTC/P

  19. Deduction says:

    Its not to do with backhaul. The more times you split a fibre signal over a GPON network the less final speed you end up with at the user end. With the ondemand product you will go through a current FTTC cabinet, which i believe can have something like 600 other users on it. The splitter can only send x amount of Mbps through it at a time… The fibre may be able to carry 100’s of gigabits of data to the cabinet, it doesnt matter.

    In the case of the “on-demand” product and in very simple (not 100% accurate) terms the splitter is acting like a switch. If the switch for arguments sake (again not accurate for demonstration only) can whack say 1000Mbps through it and 10 people on their UPTO 200Mbps connection all want to download or upload at full speed at the same time, they will not be able to, best case scenario in an example like that is they each get 100Mbps. Cos the splitter can only push 1000Mbps through it at a time.

    Obviously this is NOT going to be an issue when the product is first deployed, but the more people that take it… Then it could end up being an issue. In reality i think the cost install/setup cost is going to limit how many people have the “on-demand” product anyway so what ive just described may not be an issue at all for the product well not for a few years anyway…. I guess it depends on end user cost to get up and running, oh and obviously how long like anything internet related until the weakest point in the chain cant cope.

    The “on demand” product is a step in the right direction to REAL future proofing, but its still nowhere near as good as a REAL ETHERNET FTTH solution.

    1. FibreFred says:

      I’m classing the splits as backhaul, its all backhauling to the exchange. When a split path gets congested put in another path and migrate people over to the new path to balance the load, its just cables and when there is congestion you add more

  20. DTMark says:

    Cable – head end cabinet serves street cabinets which serve multiple properties. The congestion you describe can happen at the street cab, the head end cab or further back, but is most typically at the street cab level.

    FTTC – fibre from exchange (usually, but not always) to cabinet serving multiple properties. Congestion can then occur in the identical manner at the cabinet, and then further back at the exchange.

    With FTTC the congestion would cause a more widespread issue if the problem were at the exchange since it probably impacts more people, but then, it’s also easier to fix because it’s in one place.

    With cable the congestion is typically localised and so apart from being arguably more difficult to sort, it might impact fewer people but by the same token this reduces the incentive to fix it, especially if BT haven’t deployed their competing product yet.

    There’s nothing to stop either Virgin or Openreach running additional fibre to increase the capacity to the cabinet; Virgin Media are “resegmenting” their network at the moment in preparation for the higher speeds that they’ve, er, already announced.

    Presumably there’s also nothing to stop a dedicated chunk of bandwidth at the cabinet being assigned to specific users thus maintaining the top speed, indeed I believe cable connects business users slightly differently to residentials giving dedicated capacity.

  21. Deduction says:

    quote”I’m classing the splits as backhaul, its all backhauling to the exchange. When a split path gets congested put in another path and migrate people over to the new path to balance the load, its just cables and when there is congestion you add more”

    Its not that simple…
    1) You can only split it a certain amount of times before you have to amplify it again, which in itself can cause issues. (unbalanced load to multiple splitters then becomes even harder to manage).
    2) 330Mbps it looks like that (see latest AAISP story today) is not even do able
    through a true FTTH connection never mind the “on demand” variant.

    I guess we will have to wait and see but ultimately i think its gonna top out at around 150Mbps and thats if a person is lucky.

  22. FibreFred says:

    It is that simple, if you can supply that infrastructure in the first place you can supply it again in parallel

    As for the FTTP 330Mbps , as per my comments on that article I doubt the test was even valid, fibre is fibre, no reason it can’t achieve 330Mbps, no reason it can’t achieve 1Gbps, which is already in place for business across the UK, its nothing new.

  23. FibreFred says:

    Also bear in mind what you are describing isn’t real life, everyone in the UK does not max out their internet connection 24/7, nor does any residential ISP size their network on that basis, its bursty traffic. And best effort

  24. Deduction says:

    You can only split a GPON a certain amount of times, if you have an amount of customers all wanting x Mbps and to give each user that you have to split the connection more times than it is capable than its impossible be it 24/7 or just a temp “burst” to give anyone on that circuit that bandwidth. Each time you split it after that split (IE cabinet/splitter depending on where it is placed to persons home) the bandwidth capable on that split link decreases. They can re-amplify the circuit but thats additional cost and work.

    Real FTTH which is what the AAISP story is about shouldnt have those issues though, i think the reason that has only hit 192Mbps out of 330Mbps is more down to available bandwidth the ISP end.

  25. FibreFred says:

    I’m not sure what you are getting at with the splitting, it doesn’t matter how many times it is split as long as the speed to the home is achievable what has been advertised.

    I know GPON is shared that is its appeal and why it makes sense. If the service is advertised at 100Mbps and that is available I don’t see the issue?

  26. Deduction says:

    Thats the whole point 330Mb (current top rated BT based FTTH speeds in the UK)to multiple links from an initial 1gig link when splitted numerous times will not be possible. At some point you have to re-amplify the signal, thats not cheap to do and can cause even more problems.

    The on demand product claims to be a FTTH solution so id hope its going to offer more than 100Mb……. 200Mb is possible over normal FTTC with the right tweaking (although you have to be the lucky few to be close enough to the cabinet) so nobody with any sense is going to want to pay which is likely to be hundreds if not thousands having the FTTH “on demand” product installed if its only rated to 100Mb.

  27. FibreFred says:

    You need to read up on GPON, what is being done here has been done across Europe. As for your 330Mbps worry, don’t. They will use XGPON which can co-exist on the same GPON network as it uses a different frequency.

    I don’t see any bad design here that you are speaking of.

    330Mbps over GPON? No problem

  28. FibreFred says:

    And they aren’t splitting a 1Gbps link even with GPON a single fibre does not equal 1Gbps we’ve moved beyond that a long time ago

  29. Deduction says:

    Isnt XGPON still unproven?

  30. FibreFred says:

    Telco’s proved it works a few years back. There’s nothing wrong with a PON network, it works, scaleable and has a future

  31. Deduction says:

    Looking at this…
    http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-t/oth/0B/04/T0B040000382C01PDFE.pdf

    It wont work with the “on demand” system BT explained earlier in the year.

  32. FibreFred says:

    Why won’t it work?

  33. Deduction says:

    It would require physical replacement of equipment and possibly even cabinets.

    Current filters etc are regular GPON.

    BT fibre i think you will find is also not capable of sending 10Gbit/s down. The current wavelength multiplexer in place would need replacing.

    There is also then the issue of current FTTC and the “on demand” product relying on a cabinets DSLAM which i highly doubt can deal with those speeds and would be a bottle neck.

    Basically to make use of XGPON they would have to replace a raft of equipment.

  34. FibreFred says:

    You don’t know what BT fibre has in the ground or what optics they are using, of course the fibre is capable of 10Gbit/s I’d struggle to think of any modern fibre that isn’t, its about what you put on each end of it.

    Bookmark this page, come 2013 you will see that FTTP on demand is 330Mbps capable either at launch or soon after.

    Also I’m not sure why you keep going on about DSLAM’s that is for the FTTC leg of the connection, it has no part in FTTP or FTTP on demand connection.

  35. Deduction says:

    I should had clarified the bit of dangly fibre cable……… Yeah you can shove 10Gbit down that no issue. The other bits in the BT fibre system though dont allow those speeds and neither does any system that uses regular GPON equipment. That chart i linked to shows the speed differences.

    The on demand product will not be able to do 330Mb without upgrades.

    The DSLAM IS RELEVANT The FTTP on demand product is GPON based, just as FTTC is. It uses the DSLAM from FTTC which is installed in the cabinets. GPON FTTH solutions rely on a DSLAM.

    The real FTTP product from BT which only around 2% of the country will get is ethernet based. The 2 products are worlds apart. The ethernet solution it is even questionable (though i freely admit its likely AAISPs end) if that can even do 330Mbs and that is the superior product cable of superior speed (IN THOERY) far in excess of a GPON based FTTP “on demand” solution.

    It should be noted before FTTC was launched that back in 2008 and early 2009 when they were talking about it BT were making wild claims that would run up to 150Mbps (just search news items on this very site) more than 2 years later with the rollout in full flow its stuck at less than 80Mb, or around half of what they originally claimed FTTC would do.

    SO yep im happy to bookmark this and see what happens in 2 years….. Half the guesstimate 330Mbps speed from BT again would be my prediction Based on current in place tech not being able to do it and BTs habitual over boasting 😀

  36. FibreFred says:

    heheh ok we’ll see next year, at least we’ve moved on from it won’t work to won’t work without upgrades.

    FTTP on demand 300/30 (I doubt FTTP or FTTP on demand will be launched as the actual 330) product 2013, my money is on the table 🙂

  37. Deduction says:

    I think they will start the “on demand” product out with a speed rating (if we even still have them in any form) around 100-150Mbps. Mid to end 2013 i woould say is entirely possible.

    Then later 2014-2015ish if they decide to spend more cash upgrading things further then flog a product in the or near the 300Mb range.

    It would follow the patterns we have seen with ADSL (IE 512k first even though there was no reason i can remember it couldnt do 1 or 2Mb straight away) and FTTC (IE 40Mb first than a year later 80Mb springs up).

    😀

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