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BT Openreach Make it Cheap to Trial Faster “Fibre Broadband” Speeds

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 (1:05 pm) - Score 1,989

BTOpenreach has moved to “create incentives” for ISPs and their subscribers to change or trial a faster Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) “fibre broadband” speed by launching a new special offer, which cuts the £11.25 Bandwidth Modification Charge to £0.

At present most of the ISPs that offer FTTC (VDSL) packages tend to promote Internet speeds from 40Mbps (2Mbps upload) and up to 80Mbps (20Mbps), while FTTP adds several tiers that go up to 330Mbps (30Mbps).

Most recently Openreach has also added a new 55Mbps FTTC product, but so far it hasn’t attracted much interest (here).

Openreach Statement

We are pleased to announce a six month special offer on the GEA Bandwidth Modification Charge. This will create incentives for our CPs and their end-customers to move bandwidths more easily as well as allowing their customers to trial a faster speed. The standard terms and conditions for GEA, as published on the Openreach website, will apply to the special offer.

One problem with this approach could be that ultrafast FTTP only has a very small UK footprint, while those able to get the full speed out of a 40Mbps FTTC product may feel little need to go faster (assuming their lines can actually deliver above 40Mbps and many cannot). The faster product tiers also tend to attract a slightly higher rental charge.

However if you are able to get above 40Mbps on FTTC then it’s certainly possible that the option of testing a faster speed could encourage some up-sell to faster tiers. Otherwise the new offer will be made available to ISPs from 2nd May until 1st November 2016, but it remains to be seen how many providers will take and offer it in the way that Openreach intend.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Alasdair says:

    Is it possible yet for those on FTTC cabs to pay and upgrade to FTTP (FTTP on demand?) again or is that still suspended?

    Does such a thing require extra work on the cab or are all FTTC cabs deployed in a way that they can support FTTP in future?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Openreach has made Fibre-on-Demand available to ISPs, but most of the providers that would actually use it prefer to take a much more complete product through BTWholesale and at that end they still haven’t removed the “stop sell”.

      I believe they’re waiting to see the outcome of BT’s FOD2 trials, which are about to complete. But this is all somewhat off-topic.

      In regards to the work required, this varies depending upon your location. FoD generally requires the end user to cover part of the physical installation cost and that can be between several hundred and several thousand pounds. The cabinet itself is not so much the issue, it’s everything else they need to do to reach your property with a fibre optic cable.

  2. Bill says:

    Is there any ISP at all at the moment that offers FoD?

    1. Lee says:

      I don’t think so.

  3. cyclope says:

    This could be used as a way of resetting DLM if the ISP wont be charged, ie someone already on the 80/20 product could switch to the 40/10 and back to the 80/20 the change of open reach product would trigger a DLM reset

  4. DTMark says:

    So just to clarify – if, prior to this offer, an ISP wanted to upgrade a user from “up to 40Mbps” to “up to 55Mbps”, they would need to check that such a top speed was attainable.

    Then they would have to pay £11.25 to BT to make that configuration change.

    Then the user, who now has to pay more for the higher speeds, might focus a little more on the speeds they actually get.

    If they then see that the magic 55Mbps is not attainable (witness cable customers “only” getting say 180Mbps on a 200Mbps service becoming rather vocal) they then complain to the ISP.

    Who now has to deal with that and if the line, for whatever reason, say, crosstalk, can’t manage the full rate, they then have to let the customer down and pay BT another £11.25 to downgrade the line rate back to 40Mbps or else pay increased charges for the duration of the contract for something that wasn’t attainable anyway.

    Alternatively, if it all goes well, and the user is happy, the ISP might make a couple of pounds extra a month perhaps, so the £11.25 charge would be recovered in six months.

    Is that about the gist of this – if so, it’s hardly surprising that there’s no great rush on the part of ISPs to upgrade customers.

    1. MikeW says:

      I think you have the process parts right, but there might be some leeway with refunds if the achieved speed doesn’t match the dreaded estimate range. I do wonder if you have the human parts right, though.

      I can’t help but think that the customers break down into two sets: those who care that they can achieve the speed they bought (and check almost obsessively), and those that don’t, once shown to “just work”.

      The kind of person you describe, checking obsessively /after/ an upgrade … aren’t they likely to behave like that /before/ too? And make a conscious decision now, that more speed is what they need?

      The other kind – that don’t really check obsessively – will behave the same after an upgrade. In their life, the thing that prompts them to upgrade would surely be signs of congestion: buffering on the HDTV, because the three teenagers are watching their own streams, for example. For these people, the acid test over whether the upgrade has worked is simple: have the signs of congestion gone away?

      Making it free to try a higher speed makes it easier to appeal to the latter group. Makes it easier for sales people to persuade them to try.

      The former group, the ones intimate with speed testers, they benefit too, but they already understand the implications of upgrading. They had already made a calculated decision about why not to upgrade. This gives them a chance to experiment, to decide if it is worthwhile after all.

  5. MAF says:

    Mike W seems to have ignored the crosstalk issue. If the Grownups plus 2 teenagers in different rooms, in multiple households are all downloading an HD or UHD movie or similar (3 per connection) at 8 pm, then the crosstalk from loosly twisted and untwisted pairs and degraded thin aluminium wires etc in close proximity – is massive.

    The headline speed is immaterial if they only get 4mbps at 8-9 pm – like I do from my 40/10 service!

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