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BT Boost Broadband Upload Speeds on its 1Gbps FTTP Trial in Bradford

Friday, July 15th, 2016 (8:31 am) - Score 2,812

Future subscribers taking part in Openreach’s (BT) new trial of 1000Mbps “ultrafast” Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP/H) broadband technology in Bradford (West Yorkshire, England) will now benefit from even faster upload speeds than originally expected (up to 220Mbps), as well as a free connection and rental.

The Bradford trial aims to explore if the pure fibre optic technology “can be installed faster and more efficiently in business parks and high streets” (e.g. it will look at reducing the need for several engineers to cut and melt fibres together). As part of that it is being rolled out to serve businesses in the Kirkgate area, with business parks in Listerhills and Fieldhead also benefiting.

The full network build completed during early May 2016 and since then Openreach has been busy seeking landlord permissions and conducting further systems testing prior to going live. A future Phase Two is also planned and this is expected to expand the network’s coverage, although Openreach has yet to confirm the locations.

Happily we can finally report that the new trial is set to officially go live from 12th August 2016 and it will then run until 31st March 2017. During this period customers will be able to order one of three different product tiers.

The Bradford Product Tiers
* 330Mbps Download (30Mbps Upload)
* 500Mbps Download (165Mbps Upload)
* 1000Mbps Download (220Mbps Upload)

Eagle eyed readers will notice that the final trial tiers have been given a boost to their upload speeds. Originally the 500Mbps product was only expected to deliver Internet uploads of 100Mbps and the 1000Mbps tier was similarly expected to offer 150Mbps, but both have now been given a sharp increase.

No reason is given for the change, although it might be to help differentiate their “premium” pure fibre optic FTTP options from Openreach’s more domestic focused hybrid-fibre G.fast technology, which has slower speeds. Equally it could simply be down to the fact that Openreach found they could support those speeds and so that’s exactly what they’ve done.

More good news also stems from the fact that each of these products will come with a FREE CONNECTION and on top of that both the 500Mbps and 1000Mbps options will surprisingly also benefit from FREE RENTAL, which may be partly because Openreach hasn’t yet decided how much to charge for them (if we had to guess, we’d say 500Mbps will end up costing around £50-70 +vat and 1000Mbps will be approx. £120-150 +vat per month).

Sadly the 330Mbps option will continue to attract a standard £38 +vat per month rental, although this is the wholesale cost and ISPs will naturally charge more at retail because they have to add data allowances, service features, profit margins and various other costs on top.

All of this is of course in keeping with Gavin Patterson‘s (BT Group CEO) commitment to “accelerate the deployment of fibre-to-the-premises significantly” (here) and they recently announced a plan to roll-out FTTP to 2 million UK premises by 2020 (around half of those will be businesses).

However the trial in Bradford, which is being supported by ISPs like BT, AAISP, Zen Internet and others, does have some competition from Cityfibre, which alongside Exa Networks has launched its own 1000Mbps FTTP broadband network for businesses in the city (here). Not forgetting that Virgin Media are also expanding the reach of their DOCSIS and FTTP networks. It’s wonderful to see pure fibre optic infrastructure competition like this.

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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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32 Responses
  1. Jimmy ferguson says:

    Rip off compared to how much sky are charging in york for their 1gbps customers

    1. Lee says:

      Only because no one is taking it up. Sky are limited to that one location too.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      The trial above is also more focused on businesses.

  2. Thomas says:

    Here in Inverness we are being quoted £400 for a 30Mbit link via FTTP. How does this compare to ‘sad’ £38 per month for 3300mbps ?

    1. Thomas says:

      should have said £38 per month for 330mbps

  3. FibreFred says:

    Its a bargain for business

    1. craski says:

      I recently had a quote for a 10Mb leased line for a small business in a business park where only ADSL or leased lines are available and it was ~£2302 to install and £517.57 / month rental. This is a bargain by comparison.

  4. JAH says:

    Why can’t Openreach support symmetric speeds like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear etc? Is Openreach’s kit technically inferior?

    1. tim says:

      So they don’t undermine their own Leased Line Business.

    2. wireless pacman says:

      Their kit is deliberately technically inferior for two reasons. The first is as Tim says. The second is to make fibre unbundling as hard as possible.

    3. TheFacts says:

      How about a sensible explanation?

    4. fastman says:

      that just the model those guys your and they basically bundle a dedicated cct per customer

    5. FibreFred says:

      “The second is to make fibre unbundling as hard as possible.”

      That is a side effect sure, but PON is a very very popular and widely used deployment. Even Google Fiber use it!

    6. Ignition says:

      Openreach can certainly deliver symmetrical services, but choose not to. No commercial case.

      Regarding PON: can save a fair amount of cash. Less duct space, far fewer optics required on the telco side and there’s not much cost difference between price of a PON ONT and a fibre gigabit Ethernet termination.

      That it’s considerably more difficult to unbundle PON is a bonus.

    7. GNewton says:

      @Ignition: In some countries there is apparently a good business case for symmetric fibre broadband, see e.g. http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-makes-all-its-fios-broadband-tiers-symmetrical-upgrades-new-existin/2014-07-21

      I am not sure why BT can’t do it. There are a number of applications where a higher upload speed is useful. Also, a symmetric fibre product would give an ISP a nice competitive advantage over DOCSIS cable providers like Virgin. Some of the smaller telecom companies in the UK already do that, too, see e.g. http://www.gigaclear.com/our-broadband-products/for-home/home-broadband-packages/#product-100

    8. MikeW says:

      As if “symmetric” is some sort of holy grail.

      Surely every business has its own bespoke idea of its upstream needs vs downstream. Some want more upstream, some less. Who is to say whether a 1:1 choice is better than 4:1?

      The BSG report on SME needs reckoned on the median business ratio being 4:1 in 2015, and shifting to 3:1 by 2025. Only when you get to the neediest businesses do you start to get near a 1:1 requirement in 2025.

      Even then, the 330/30 package would meet their upstream needs while far outstripping their downstream needs.

      Residential needs barely merit a mention here. The average ratio is more like 7:1.

    9. FibreFred says:

      Exactly we have a study in this country not sure why he is showing a business case from another country, might as well be another planet in terms of relevance

    10. GNewton says:

      @MikeW: “Surely every business has its own bespoke idea of its upstream needs vs downstream. Some want more upstream, some less.”

      Very true. Tell that to the telecom companies in the UK who are often unable to offer suitable services to customers because of their antiquated network technologies.

    11. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton – You’re aware that the majority of FTTP deployments in the US (e.g. Verizon/Google Fiber/AT&T U-Verse) are using GPON, which is the same network deployment as BT? When there is a commercial case for faster speeds or symmetrical connections in the UK (none of the larger ISPs ask for it), it should be straightforward for BT to provide it via FTTP.

    12. FibreFred says:

      “Very true. Tell that to the telecom companies in the UK who are often unable to offer suitable services to customers because of their antiquated network technologies.”

      BT have been offering symmetrical services for many years all over the UK with their antiquated network technologies, 2Mbps to 10Gbps

    13. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: I am aware of it, it’s indeed mostly GPON. However, for the vast majority of the UK BT is simply unable to offer similar services. It is anything but straight forward for BT to get its act together, to ever offer a similar service like FIOS in the UK.

    14. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton – In what way can BT not get its act together? Most of the large providers do not even take up Openreach’s FTTP service. BT Consumer is the only one really offering FTTP and of those end users that take it up, a tiny percentage take the top speed variant. I don’t see why BT should offer something that no one seems to demand.

    15. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: I think you answered your own question. BT doesn’t do widespread fibre broadband, hence ISPs don’t pick up on it. It’s the same issue with e.g. Gigaclear which has only very few resellers.

      However, Gigaclear does symmetric FTP, unlike BT. BT won’t be able to do widespread fibre broadband for a long time. The situation is quite different in other countries, as my example with Verizon FIOS in the States illustrates. If there is business case for symmetric fibre broadband in other countries, and even in the UK with some smaller genuine fibre broadband providers, then with not with BT?

      In the UK, we have seen a big failure on the part of BT, in conjunction with failed government policies (see e.g. the BDUK farce!), and a wrong regulatory environment. There is hardly any widespread genuine infrastructure competition, except for Virgin cable, and some smaller altnets. On the other hand, neither has there been a policy of avoiding duplicate access networks, hence there was never a focus on doing just one network the right way (near total fibre) because the economic case wasn’t attractive enough. Add to this the overall “Can’t Do” culture we see in this country, including especially BT, and you can see why it’s been a failure.

    16. TheFacts says:

      Would this be the BT that the then government prevented from rolling out fibre to protect the cable TV companies?

    17. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: Your question is, as usual, irrelevant, we are in the year 2016 in case you didn’t noticed! I suggest you read up on this:


    18. MikeW says:

      You missed both my points, didn’t you.
      Whoosh … straight over your head.

    19. TheFacts says:

      @GN – your point is? The UK could have had a fully fibred to the home network years ago. We only have one gas, water and electric cable.

    20. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: My point is you keep posting half truths, or irrelevant questions. The fact is, the government hasn’t prevented BT from deploying fibre broadband, or a TV service, for many years now. You keep lamenting over ancient history here. And at other times, you came up with senseless proposals how the government (us taxpayers) could pay for a nationwide FTTP. Get real here!

      @MikeW: I was just pointing out that a number of companies do see a business case for symmetric fibre broadband, even in the UK. BT is not one of them because by and large it is unable to do so for many reasons, this has nothing to do with the studies you quoted.

    21. TheFacts says:

      Is there a significant demand for a symmetrical product above 220M? If not then the 1000/220M fits.

  5. Farakh Iqbal says:

    This is really good news. However I am a Bradford resident, will i be able to obtain those speeds?

    1. FibreFred says:


      It is just in specific areas and it looks like you’ll be contacted if you are in that area:


    2. fastman says:

      and whether a consuming service provider will actually offer you a a service

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