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BT Confirm UK Rollout of 1000Mbps G.Fast Ultrafast Broadband from 2016/17

Friday, January 30th, 2015 (7:49 am) - Score 53,761

The national telecoms operator, BT, has today delivered an earlier than expected surprise by announcing their intention to deploy the next generation hybrid-fibre G.fast (ITU G.9701) broadband technology across the United Kingdom from 2016/17, with “most homes” told to expect speeds of ‘up to’ 500Mbps (Megabits per second) and there’s also a “premium” option for up to 1000Mbps (the premium may come via FTTP).

At present most of BT’s national deployment is dominated by their hybrid Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) broadband technology, which delivers download speeds of up to 80Mbps by running a fibre optic cable to your local street cabinet and then using VDSL2 over the remaining / existing copper line from the cabinet to your home.

Existing FTTC is most effective for properties that exist up to 400 metres away from their street cabinet, although the service has been known to reach 2000 metres; albeit with significantly slower sub-superfast speeds (i.e. well below the Government’s definition of 24Mbps+).

By comparison G.fast works in a similar way, except that it requires significantly more radio spectrum (FTTC = 17MHz vs G.fast 17-106MHz+) and must thus operate over a much shorter run of copper cable (ideally less than 250 metres). As a result the high capacity fibre optic line has to be taken even closer to homes, usually as far as a smaller remote node or distribution point (FTTdp / FTTrN) that can be built on top of a telegraph pole, inside a street cabinet or possibly even put underground.

This extra work is costly and complex, but also means that BT doesn’t need to dig up your garden or run a new physical line into your home, which would be hugely time consuming and even more expensive. The downside is that depending upon copper lines, even a small amount, means that service speeds may be significantly slower for those at the furthest reaches of G.fast (how slow will very much depended upon BT’s chosen deployment methodology).

BT conducted a field trial of mock-up G.fast technology earlier this year (full details here and here) and on the shortest 19 metre copper line they managed to achieve aggregated speeds of around 1000Mbps (Megabits per second), which equated to 231Mbps upload and 786Mbps download. By comparison the “long66 metre line produced 200Mbps upload and 696Mbps download.

BT’s G.Fast Trial Plans

As part of today’s announcement BT has confirmed that their Openreach division will begin “widespread deployment” of G.fast sometime in 2016/17, but this will subject to the results of two pilots that are to be run before.

The two pilots will start this Summer 2015 in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) and Gosforth (Newcastle). Around 4,000 homes and businesses will be able to participate in the pilots, which will explore what speeds can be delivered using G.fast at scale.

BT is likely to deploy G.fast from various points in the network, with the pilots allowing it to assess various rollout options. It is also planning to develop a premium fibre broadband service for those residential and business customers who want even faster broadband, of up to 1Gbps.

Gavin Patterson, BT’s CEO, said:

BT is a world leader when it comes to fibre innovation and we are excited about the next stage in our story. We believe G.fast is the key to unlocking ultrafast speeds and we are prepared to upgrade large parts of our network should the pilots prove successful. That upgrade will depend however on there continuing to be a stable regulatory environment that supports investment.

The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to broadband and we need to stay ahead as customer demands evolve. G.fast will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date. It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast in the quickest possible timeframe.”

Meanwhile BT’s FTTC dominated deployment of “superfast” (24Mbps+) capable broadband technology, with a few pockets of 330Mbps capable pure fibre optic FTTP, is continuing and its network now passes almost 22 million homes and businesses. The current roll-out forms part of the Government’s intention to make superfast speeds available to 95% of the UK by 2017.

As for the G.fast plan, its deployment is expected to complete by 2020 (assuming all goes well with the trials), although crucially we don’t yet know precisely what proportion of the UK will receive the service. It’s also worth noting that G.fast performance also suffers significantly when it has to coexist in an environment with VDSL2 (FTTC), although we won’t know what kind of impact this will have until BT has established a clear methodology for how it will deploy G.fast.

In terms of cost, G.fast isn’t cheap and might cost as much as several billion pounds to roll-out, but again this will depend upon BT’s chosen deployment methodology and how much of the UK will be covered. The operator spent around £2bn pushing FTTC out to third thirds of the UK and we anticipate that something similar may be required for G.fast, but more information is required.

The other big question is whether this roll-out will have any impact upon the deployment of Vectoring technology, which is needed to tackle the crosstalk interference issue that has been causing a performance loss of up to 20-30% on some FTTC lines.

UPDATE 8:38am

In chatting with BT’s we’ve been told that the operator believes G.fast should be able to deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps within a decade. But crucially the operator said that the 1000Mbps premium service is “likely to be delivered” via pure fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology and possibly not G.fast, which wasn’t mentioned in their press update.

However BT said that it was still early days and suggested that no decision had been made on this, not least because G.fast can do 1Gbps in some circumstances and they’re “continuing to push the boundaries” of that technology.

So in other words, the “premium” service might be done via G.fast, but the current direction is for it to be achieved through an FTTP upgrade (at present FTTP can only do 330Mbps on BT’s platform).

UPDATE 20th April 2015

A new / third trial location in Wales has been announced, alongside some more details (here).

Leave a Comment
95 Responses
  1. FibreFred says:

    (Before the copper crew get in with the usual comments)

    This is good, its good to see something else on the roadmap. For me its good for a number of reasons

    1) Increased in speeds both ways, its a given that is good
    2) I would like to hope that FTTPoD costs come right down now and be within the reach of many financially if you area has G.Fast


    I’m a bit suprised by this I must admit, I would have thought a G.Fast deployment would be demand led, so… where there’s a good take up of FTTC we’d see them targetting those areas first and only go to areas that have a good FTTC uptake, this would lead to a very slow take up because take up of FTTC isn’t exactly rapid (just like ADSL wasn’t)

    But if I’m reading this correctly they are just going to crack on regardless with this, so.. what does that mean for FTTC in these areas and what is “widespread” what is that coverage.

    Lots of questions to be answered I guess as usual but very promising and brings fibre ever closer

    No hint of gov funding either 🙂

    1. MikeW says:

      Equally surprised at the timescales here. Wasn’t expecting them to start anything until 2018-2019, at least, as resources free up from BDUK-SEP.

    2. themanstan says:

      Could this be related to lessons learned and lower costs for VDSL2 roll-out?

      GFast is an incremental form and uses many of the same infrastructure build techniques.

      Also, VDSL2 will have given an overview of duct health in areas allowing for forward planning with respect to those issues.

      This gives a better forecast for CAPEX.

    3. No Clue says:

      “(Before the copper crew get in with the usual comments)”

      No need BT did it thereself…

      “In chatting with BT’s we’ve been told that the operator believes G.fast should be able to deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps within a decade. But crucially the operator said that the 1000Mbps premium service is “likely to be delivered” via pure fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology and possibly not G.fast, which wasn’t mentioned in their press update.”


    4. Tobax says:

      I live in a village just 4 miles from the nearest town that has fiber optic, which is in the middle of Hampshire and yet I’m stuck on a 6mb line with not even a rough date of when I can get anything better. So frankly their claims of getting up to 1000mb is completely ridiculous when they can’t even finish rolling out the current upgrades.

  2. New_Londoner says:

    Shame this wasn’t announced yesterday, as our illustrious politicians would have struggled even more to come up with coherent questions. Ithe announcement of this upgrade does make some of the proponents of FTTP and “FTTC is a dead end” look increasingly rediculous.

    1. FibreFred says:

      All to do again though isn’t it?

      Surely they’ll be dragging fibre all the way from the exchange to the G.Fast dp’s ?;)

      Its just… “all” to do again, and again after this no doubt

    2. gerarda says:

      Given that there is only a vague promise of “most homes” I doubt if this will have much impact on the BDUK areas, but will be targeted to where BT has competition from VM

    3. Ignitionnet says:

      I imagine they’ll use a similar model to the one used for FTTC decisions except with additional data from the FTTC build.

    4. Steve Jones says:

      Clearly it will be rolled out in those areas where competition is expected and where it’s most cost effective. Not only VM, but any incipient fibre competition. It will, of course, depend critically on it being relatively fast and cheaper to deploy than a full fibre solution.

      It’s still going to be very expensive of course – it involves getting fibre deep into the D-side network, which means all those issues of blocked ducts etc found on the E-side, but with many more miles to deal with.

      As providing power to active nodes is disproportionately expensive the fewer the number of lines, then I any cost effective roll-out is going to have to use reverse power or some distributed low tension solution via “spare” copper pairs. Reports from North Yorks indicates that the economics of the FTTrN trials are being adversely affected by the costs of delivering power. Distributed power solutions are being looked at, and that’s clearly a critical issue to solve on any of these deep fibre hybrid solutions.

      A bit of calculation indicates that it’s theoretically possible to deliver a little over 8W of power to a load over a 200m typical pair. However, to do so means drawing 16W (half of it lost in heating). A more reasonable target is 3W per pair which can be delivered with 90% efficiency over 200m. Indeed, you can deliver that much at 500m, albeit with only 64% efficiency.

      Given that (presumably) these g.fast nodes will have to be installed in foot boxes in many cases, there’s every reason to keep the power budget down as, even at 3W per pair, servicing just 20 properties would dissipate 60W at 3W per line.

      A bit of research indicates that VDSL2 DSLAMs seem to come in at about 1.6W per line. Of course there’s also the optical fibre driver to consider plus switching logic. So 3W per line in total is maybe in the right ballpark

      So it looks to me like this whole idea will depend crucially on g.fast nodes capable of working with very low power budgets plus sophisticated power management (with reverse power, there will be several sources and enough power will have to be “leached” off of each to also drive the common components. There is also the issue of UPS coverage. Putting a battery into each node would be possible, but it might be expected that the number of g.fast nodes required will be an order of magnitude or more than VDSL cabinets. Even a 50% UK coverage would probably have more than a million of these nodes. That’s the potential for a lot of maintenance if things like batteries had to be swapped out regularly (although that’s also a big issue for FTTP UPS where voice is carried too as the ONTs have batteries too).

      There is a (Dutch I think) report around which estimates that a g.fast deployment in urban areas would be roughly half the cost of an FTTP deployment. However, it seems to me that once fibre is delivered to every footbox, it’s cheap to add a gpon node at the same time. Indeed, I can imagine a combined g.fast/GPON node being developed which would work over a single fibre.

    5. NGA for all says:

      It is a welcome development – salute. The PAC NAO concerns are legitmate.

      There no reason why G.fast cannot be used in intervention areas.

      FTTP will still have a lower LRIC once installed, will it not?

    6. MikeW says:

      Steve is right with the power concerns for FTTRN, and there has been a lot of work done on the power options for FTTdp (utilising G.fast).

      With the timescales they are talking about, it could be possible that they plan to skip FTTRN (with power issues) and jump to FTTdp with reverse power instead.

      That could just about fit into the SEP projects. Tight, but possible…

    7. MikeW says:


      Here’s a presentation on reverse power, with a lot of figures for various power loads, cable lengths and gauges.


      It reckons on a G.fast application taking 20W for 2 loads, while a VDSL2 app takes 16W for 2 loads.

      It seems like the ETSI specs have power classes for 10W, 15W and 21W – those being the output power from the end-user premises. In an example, they show the 21W power class as putting just under 20W into the cable, and 10.5W available to the node 200m away, after all conversion losses.

    8. Steve Jones says:

      Thanks Mike, that’s very useful. One thing I should note is that I suspect phone pairs are more likely to be 0.5mm diameter copper (like CW108) which means resistive losses are about half my initial calculation. So delivering 16W to a load over 200m is just about possible after resistive losses, but before any conversion losses at the load end.

      I must admit I find the power figures uncomfortably high, especially id this stuff is to do down a hole in the ground to service any significant numbers of lines. However, I suppose it’s early days yet.

    9. No Clue says:

      Jesus christ day off or something to talk and agree with yourself this amount?

    10. FibreFred says:

      ^ No doubt its different people that is why you are confused, all people don’t operate like yourself when it comes to the internet

    11. No Clue says:

      Yes its all different people who just happen to all be online the same time as yourself, all nodding like idiots in agreement

    12. FibreFred says:

      So im all these other people then ? Lol you really do heed help

    13. No Clue says:

      Says the dumb dumb that spends an afternoon talking to itself.

  3. X66yh says:

    I’d have thought it will be very useful in those areas where large groups of a cabinet service areas’ population are by historial accident located a long way from the cabinet.

    So rather than upgrading existing VDSL/FTTC areas to G.Fast/FTTdP they might start on those not being considered for FTTC under BDUK as there is pretty well no point under the current technology as the cab is too far away.

    As these areas already are mostly likely to have bad ADSL i’d have thought the takeup rate would be very high.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The 2016/17 date, combined with the need for a lot of network capacity and a desire to grow subscribers vs Virgin Media etc., suggests G.fast will come towards the end of BDUK Phase 2 (95% coverage) and so I suspect BT will want to grow it in urban areas first just as they’ve always done before. But you never know.

    2. Col says:

      So,if I live 2km from my cab and can get Gfast would i be getting better bandwidth that those living 500m from their vdsl cab?

    3. James Harrison says:

      As I understand it G.Fast will not deliver higher performance for longer lines – as with VDSL it requires shorter lines and falls off faster (ie it will simply fail to work beyond a certain line length and that line length will be less than ADSL/ADSL2+). Vectoring may in fact improve line length issues in some cases but if I recall correctly there’s a fairly narrow sweet spot where that works out favourably.

      G.Fast and other FTTC tech is ideal for cities and lets BT compete with Virgin’s DOCSIS platform. It’s not competing with FTTP, which can deliver speeds far beyond this (and symmetrical speeds, too, when not done as a GPON as BT are doing), but it will be fast enough for most consumers for a decade or two I imagine.

      I wonder how many of the FTTC cabs are already kitted out with G.fast capable hardware? As with mobile phone masts, most modern kit uses software defined radios, so can sometimes be upgraded without hardware changes.

    4. MikeW says:

      Impossible to know. With G.fast, it’ll be the distance to the DP that matters rather than the distance to the cabinet or to the exchange.

      That assumes that BT locates the FTTdp node (running G.fast) at the DP; they could choose to put it slightly further away.

      From previous stories, BT say that 20% of customers have DP distances of less than 19m, and 80% of customers have DP distances of less than 67m.

  4. hmmm says:

    pathetic they say them speeds and you get no where near so trying to be the best but wont suck seed due to the openreach cowboysthey cant even get upto 38 meg running properly nevermind this tripe

    1. FibreFred says:

      They’ve trialled it and you do get those speeds.

    2. DanielM says:

      that’s copper for ya. unreliable. we need proper fibre..

    3. MikeW says:

      Not all copper is unreliable, but you make a good point; some is.

      With a widespread deployment of FTTdp, any copper that remains unreliable will be much more readily replaced with fibre.

      Best done on an as-needed basis though.

    4. Matt says:

      Surely FTTPOD would be made far cheaper as well with G.Fast/FTTdp deployed so normal house hold owners could likely choose to get a FTTP connection if they wanted.

    5. Ignitionnet says:

      Would you mind trying that again in English?

    6. hmmm says:

      fibrefred well they couldn’t of tested or trialled it very well round where I live as it trash they have just put the green cabinets anywhere and a shambles. @ @danielm yeah that’s what we need and want rid of the old copper shite and then we may see the speeds quoted instead of the shambles of openreach cowboys and bt

    7. No Clue says:

      “that’s copper for ya. unreliable. we need proper fibre..”

      Indeed for the top end speeds you do as confirmed by BTs update which the talk to itself slurper didnt wait for.

    8. FibreFred says:


      We are talking about G.Fast here, not VDSL

      They have trialled G.Fast in various scenarios and publicly declared the results

    9. No Clue says:

      Yes the service which according to the update will be FIBRE not copper based for the top speeds.

    10. Mickey says:

      You talk rubbish

  5. finaldest says:

    BT will roll out G.Fast/FTTdP and then sell FTTP as an optional premium product. Its not the ideal solution but I would take it over FTTC or ADSL. The question is how much will it cost. For once I can actually say “well done” to BT.

    With BT about to acquire EE I am sure this announcement is part of their quad play strategy.

    I wonder weather VM will now go FTTP after this announcement. Some interesting times ahead.

    1. Steve Jones says:

      Whilst I can see VM making new deployments FTTP (they are doing a trial), then I think it very unlikely they will go round deploying FTTP retrospectively on any great scale. That’s simply due to two factors. Firstly, there’s a lot more potential left in their fibre/coax hybrid network through deploying updated nodes. In principle, DOCSIS 3 will make their network gigabit capable (albeit that depends on topology factors). To do so will be vastly more cost effective than laying complete new local networks.

      Secondly, VM simply doesn’t have the cash generating powers to deploy such an FTTP network. As it is, the existing coax network never recovered the original installation costs (the banks essentially had to write-off a lot of the original investment).

      So I don’t expect VM to do a lot of FTTP any time in the foreseeable future save, possibly, some new deployments. I think they’ll improve their existing speeds through DOCSIS. DOCSIS 3 may also be some way off as even that is quite expensive to do.

    2. FibreFred says:

      Yeah no need for VM to go FTTP not for a long time

    3. dave says:

      virgin’s thick coaxial cable is capable of enormous speeds. Doscis 3.1 is out soon i believe which will support crazy speeds. There is no need to roll out fttp any time soon for virgin.

      I’d rather see virgin enable voip on their phone network, this would be a great selling point, especially for small businesses.

    4. Ignitionnet says:

      Virgin can get to 500-600Mb without using DOCSIS 3.1 so they’re okay. They are upgrading their HFC network and pushing fibre more deeply into it.

      VoIP to replace the standard telephone network is a work in progress.

  6. 186k says:

    I’m surprised that CityFibre shares haven’t taken a hit from this announcement

  7. dave says:

    Its a shame that foreign companies aren’t interested in building FTTP, comcast, verizon, fujitsu, huawei etc. I’m guessing the tax payer will be paying for most of this upgrade like we did with FTTC and bt will earn bigger profits once again. Then fttp will be rolled out and bt will already have the infrastructure of exchanges and cabinets already built so no-one will be able to compete again and they will earn a fortune.

    1. FibreFred says:

      But the taxpayer didn’t pay for most of the FTTC rollout

      BT did

    2. dave says:

      not true fibrefred, bt promised they would spend a huge amount, around 1.5-2bn and the govt would pay £500m on top. bt has spent hardly any of their own money, way less than what they promised. Ispreview even wrote articles about this.

    3. X66yh says:

      Well I guess all those foreign companies looked at the UK and saw our obsession with low prices at all costs above anything else.
      So decided quite reasonably that unless there was a radical shift in the attitude of the UK’s population to one of “yes were ARE prepared to shell out serious money for a really decent connection” then they are not going to be interested.

    4. NGA for all says:

      @Fibre fred

      Based on BT guidance to analysts BT capital (and opex?) is £1.3-£1.6bn, + as yet unaccounted for match for rural c£350m. Gov will be £1.7bn.

      I hope we can get an fully audited number through the regulatory accounting process.

      I know we will argue on the numbers but it is quite an achievement. The cross sectional wholesale bandwidth cost of c£5.xx a Mbit second is also impressive.

    5. FibreFred says:


      I wasn’t thinking of BDUK specifically really I meant the whole FTTC rollout, so commerical + BDUK

      I think the commercial rollout was 2.5B?

    6. Ignitionnet says:

      The amount for CapEx and OpEx on the commercial programme was apparently £2.5 billion.

      £500 million of that was money that was already going to be spent, so the actual incremental spend was £2 billion.

      Also not all of that £2.5 billion was CapEx; £700 million – £1.2 billion, based on Openreach presentations, is OpEx so is being spent across a period of time and won’t by any means all have been spent already.

      BT passed a lot of premises and did them very cheaply. Paring the FTTP back so heavily saved a fair amount of cash, too.

  8. adslmax says:

    I think from 2016, BT might get another updating via BT Broadband Availability checker like this below:

    G.fast 400 400 100 100 — Available
    FTTC Range A (Clean) 80 80 20 20 — Available
    FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 61.9 20 12.2 — Available

  9. MikeW says:

    There’s an interesting snippet in the slides

    BT expect everyone to be on IP for voice by 2025. I wonder whether that be through the old 21CN plan for voice, or making use of voice facilities in the MSANs deployed for FTTC and FTTdp.

    They intend to draw people towards an “all-IP” solution through quad-play bundles.

    1. gerarda says:

      An “all-IP” solution is pretty blue sky stuff considering that they still don’t have an “all-ADSL” solution

    2. MikeW says:

      Not really. The original point of 21CN was IP voice, and convergence with IP data – but it didn’t require ADSL to achieve that. Or any kind of broadband.

    3. gerarda says:

      I thought you were referring to quad play not just voice.

    4. MikeW says:

      The other 3 elements are already IP-based solutions.

    5. gerarda says:

      which are predicated on being able to access the internet

    6. Ignitionnet says:

      Going all-IP doesn’t really require anything in the access network itself. The original 21CN plan was to use MSANs and terminate all lines on one.

      These could be tiny bits of kit replacing older, clunkier, legacy POTS kit.

      There is no need for Internet or ADSL access for these, line length wouldn’t be an issue. If you have a landline it can go VoIP.

    7. Andy says:

      @ Tim – There is something you can do – http://superfast-openreach.co.uk/rural-broadband/Fibre-roll-out.aspx Openreach will pay the economically viable part and the residents pay the remainder.

  10. Tim Elworthy says:

    Meanwhile, those who are greater than 1.5km from the cabinet get nothing apart from sub 4meg ADSL….

    1. MikeW says:

      Why? What has your current distance, from your current cab, got to do with it?

    2. Matt says:

      Think he is saying that he lives to far away from a Cabinet to get FTTC. So he’s saying while this is good news it does mean much to him unless they do his area. Though going from sub 4meg ADSL to 100Mbps + G.Fast would be a massive jump.

    3. Tim Elworthy says:

      What I’m thinking is that i am in a non-bduk area, 2.5km from a fibre enabled cabinet. There is about 5 properties all within 500 metres of each other. For this to help my poor speeds they would have to put in a remote node specifically to serve our five properties, in order to reduce the copper length to below 60 metres. I just don’t see them doing this as I can’t imagine it’s economically viable. My current hope is waiting for fttc plus adsl 2+ to give me even a paltry 12 meg. However I’ve yet to hear much from bt about this.

    4. Matt says:

      It’s getting more and more likely that BDUK is going to be expanded to 99% or 100% of UK so don’t count yourself out yet in your situation it might make more sense to actually do FTTP. Quite a few rural houses in similar situations have had that installed.

    5. tim elworthy says:

      Ah but bduk won’t include us in their rollout plans as we are deemed to be in a commercial rollout zone ie bt fibre enabled exchange. So we are reliant on bt deeming us commercially viable enough to extend the network to reach us. And that isnt going to happen anytime soon. Easy wins in urban areas will be prioritised.

    6. Ignitionnet says:

      Your exchange being enabled is irrelevant, you should still be in the intervention area. Best guess is you’re in that last 5%.

    7. gerarda says:

      Unfortunately it was not irrelevant. Being exchange enabled was by and large the criterion used by BT in the phase 1 OMRs.

    8. Tim Elworthy says:

      Gerarda has it right. Definitely not in an intervention area as confirmed by email from bduk. Also have email from bt saying I’m not economically viable to deliver commercial broadband too. So basically excluded from commercial and bduk rollout plans. Can I do anything about it ? Nope.

    9. Andy says:

      Openreach do have a rural scheme where they will pay the economically viable aspect and the local residents pay the difference. It might be worth contacting them just to get an idea? You have nothing to lose from doing this.

      The details and contact information are on the Superfast Openreach site.

    10. gerarda says:

      If you are getting more than 2mb there is no chance of you being in an intervention area until there is a plan for 100% superfast, and possibly not even then.

    11. tim elworthy says:

      Andy – yeah I’ve looked at the gap funding model and will start canvassing the neighbours this year. However I’m still hopeful that fttc plus adsl2+ option might show fruit sometime this year. 12 meg is something I’ll settle for!

      Gerarda- where I lived two years ago in a village we were getting a reliable 5 megs On old adsl max. That village is now in a bduk/ digital scotland area and enjoying fibre as we speak as a result.

    12. Andy says:

      @ Tim – I would contact Openreach now anyway. At least it will get the ball rolling and you’ll get an idea of what Openreach will pay and what residents would need to pay. You really have nothing to lose from this and you might be surprised – I know of one area which was economically unviable until Openreach saw the level of interest from residents.

    13. Ignitionnet says:

      ‘Being exchange enabled was by and large the criterion used by BT in the phase 1 OMRs.’

      Not correct – the OMRs went to cabinet and 7 digit postcode level. Were the status of the exchange ‘by and large’ the criterion why is so much of BDUK phase 1 infill on commercial exchanges, or am I imagining the 4 100-150 premises PCPs that have BDUK subsidised FTTC nodes next to them now in my local area?

      ‘If you are getting more than 2mb there is no chance of you being in an intervention area until there is a plan for 100% superfast, and possibly not even then.’

      It’s not impossible. BT have deployed FTTP on the edges of FTTC areas to plug gaps due to distance even during phase 1 of BDUK projects. Phase 2 is for 95% coverage and some BDUK projects are still working on phase 1.

    14. gerarda says:


      It was absolutely not the case that it was done at 7 digit postcode level. That’s why big chunks of Suffolk that were in the original commercial rollout have had to be picked up in the SEP. You will find similar examples in other counties too.

      As Tim is not in an intervention area now your comments about what BT are doing in BDUK areas are of no relevance. He will have to wait until such time that it requires the upgrading of his area to meet a target.

    15. MikeW says:


      So you are saying that it is impossible to find an exchange where there are both commercial cabinets *and* BDUK-subsidised cabinets? Certainly sounds that way to me

      Want to find an exchange in Suffolk that was enabled commercially, and then added to by BDUK?

      For evidence otherwise, look here: https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm
      Fill in the “Locality” as “Ipswich”
      Click on “Lookup Locality”
      Click on “all exchanges” next to “Ipswich, Suffolk”
      Click on “All 127 fibre cabinets”
      Peruse the list (it includes EO bundles as well as cabinets).

      You’ll see 38 cabinets funded commercially, and 11 cabinets funded by BDUK (some FTTC, some FTTP), plus some EO lines funded by BDUK.

      I thought the gaps in the Suffolk phase 1 coverage came about for two reasons:

      a) That some exchanges were removed from the commercial plan, but the phase 1 definition of the intervention area was not flexible enough to incorporate such exchanges. The SEP defintion now includes “at risk” areas to improve such flexibility

      b) (as reported by yourself) Someone in BT insisted, to Suffolk council, that properties on converted cabinets beyond the range of superfast speeds would still get superfast speeds.

    16. gerarda says:

      b) was a result of, for example, the entire Stowmarket exchange being in the commercial rollout – which cast doubts on your look up page

      If you do the same exercise on Stowmarket instead of Ipswich you get some cabinets described as BDUK that are in the centre of Stowmarket, in one case 75m from the exchange, with dates that are before the BDUK deployment.

      Our cabinet according to that site has been uprooted and moved a couple of miles even further away.

    17. TheFacts says:

      No exchange areas have been said to get 100% coverage. That site uses postcodes for locations, not the actual location.

    18. MikeW says:


      Not sure what your first para means, it seems confused with the reference to b) and a reference to the commercial rollout.

      Stowmarket was certainly included in the BDUK rollout; one of BTs PRs of early progress for Suffolk includes it.

      The problem with the second para is that, for you to be right, you have to show pretty much every cabinet is wrong, not just one. Finding the odd inconsistency in a huge dataset is to be expected. I’m not sure I trust all the dates either, especially with FTTP. However, for cabs I know about, the site is right.

      But how wrong is the date? Only a couple of weeks by my reckoning.

      On the third para, the oddities come, I believe, from using the centroid of the postcode data; the site itself says “The map shows green circles for the general area of each cabinet or exchange link, not the specific location of the cabinet.” It might even be more complicated.

    19. gerarda says:


      Stowmarket was a commercial rollout area see http://www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/Content/Documents/Official%20Documents/nga%20intervention.pdf
      The inability to reach many of the outlying areas, which are ADSL notspots, with cabinet enabling was one of the reasons for the SEP funding benif pushed for quickly see

    20. gerarda says:


      Having zoomed in on that map its looks like you may be right and we (councillers etc) were told porkies by Better Broadband Suffolk. Its ex Bt and Ofcom project lead appears to have accepted that BT could get superfast to far flung villages and hamlets but could not get it to new densely populated housing estates a stones throw from the exchange. No wonder he looked embarrassed at the public meetings that we held after BTs volt-face.

    21. MikeW says:

      Looking at the county newsletters, there is one mention of Stowmarket in Autumn 2014, with a coverage area matching cab 37. It seems that the project is now reporting on Stowmarket.

      That map is too rough for me to properly correlate the orange areas with the green-circle coverage from the codelook website, but there are definitely some pockets that need covering. Same for others towns too, by the look of it.

      If I’m right, that map is the one used during phase 1 invitation to tender. The one in the public consultation is worse, almost labeled with “Here be dragons. Maybe”

      Altogether, it doesn’t look to be run with quite the skill of the Warwickshire one.

      Hopefully, SEP gives them a second chance to get coverage right. With phase 1 targeting only 85%, there’s some catching up to do.

  11. Neil J. McRae says:

    After our recent trials with early G.FAST equipment we believe that we can run this technology from the cabinet and deliver significant speeds. We also have forward power (power from the cabinet rather than reverse power) working now. Lots more work to do hence the trials.

    1. Matt says:

      Most homes wouldn’t reach anywhere near 500Mbps if it was done from the cabinets.

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      Let’s hope not too much of it is from the cabinet. Rolling back the FTTP plans so heavily was disappointing; doing the same to what is, essentially, an FTTdp technology and leaving large swathes of the passed areas with zero benefit would start to really give the impression of BT as being an FTTPR company.

      If Swisscom can afford incremental CapEx of close to a billion a year for NGA and Telefonica have set about a full fibre for copper replacement in anything larger than a village I’m sure BT can manage to keep spending £300-400 million a year at very least on it. The wallet seems pretty open when it comes to content rights.

      Perhaps you could even finally actually spend the money to complete the 21CN voice project. Perish the thought of a one-off heavy CapEx investment to reduce OpEx over the following years. Whatever would the shareholders say? The horror 🙂

    3. No Clue says:

      Nice to see you use your real name.

    4. MikeW says:

      You’ve got to say it is well worth trialling the range prospects from the current cabinet – at least in some locations. That’s got to be the best way to find out what kind of performance to expect without doing any upheaval to the access network first.

      The availability of forward power from existing cabinets makes me wonder… does the backup battery have enough capacity to cover both the local DSLAM as well as a number of remote extensions?

      Certainly seeing the extra power box provided for FTTRN trial in North Yorkshire made me wonder whether it could provide forward power to additional FTTRN nodes at the next village.

    5. FibreFred says:

      Hmmm I don’t know

      What I don’t want to see if a G.Fast from the cab and then in another ten year G.Fast from the pole

  12. EOEOI says:

    So, no hope for faster broadband for Exchange Only lines? When is this country ever going to wake up & realise the benefits of high speed broadband for all? The government just pay lip service to it & push it onto someone else. A tick in the box. Pathetic.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Some EO areas are getting FTTC through rearrangement , no reason to think the same cannot be done using G.Fast

      No doubt EO will be back of the queue but I wouldn’t give up all hope

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      They won’t just deploy from cabinets so no reason to think EO lines will be prejudiced.

  13. Jonathan Ringsting says:

    BT can’t even provide me with the 20meg like I pay for. At very most I get 10meg download speeds, its absolute ***********.

    [admin note: removed swearing]

    1. TheFacts says:

      ‘Up to’.

  14. Andy says:

    Maybe work on getting FTTC to everyone first eh?

  15. Chris Conder says:

    If anyone wants to see a good article about gfarce’s amazing ability to get a service 19 metres down copper in ‘lab conditions’ then look no further. https://neil-fairbrother.squarespace.com/blog/2013/7/1/gfast-a-high-speed-cul-de-sac
    The lengths that BT will go to in order to keep us on their old telephone lines is amazing. They have to protect those assets. And this country is gonna pay the price. We’ll be left behind the ones who are laying the modern fibre networks. This sort of patch up solution is a superfarce.

    1. TheFacts says:

      And your proposal is?

  16. speedhungryguy says:

    “The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to broadband…”

    Um… what? The Swedes can get 1000Mbps down & 100Mbps up for around £77, like for a while now. BT should stop making stuff up.

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