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GTC Unveil UltraStream 300Mb FTTH Broadband Network for New Builds

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 (9:09 am) - Score 1,617

A touch of confusion rang out this morning after utility infrastructure provider GTCunveiled” its “UltraStream300” Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network solution for UK house builders to use. Except they’ve already been offering a 300Mbps FTTH solution like this since 2014.

According to GTC, UltraStream300 is the “hassle-free option for housebuilders” that “streamlines the process of installation: project managing every stage from design to completion; delivering each project quickly and efficiently; and ensuring connections are live prior to homeowners moving in“.

The service can be deployed as part of a multi-utility approach that ensures live connections for all utilities, including fibre, are made at the same time. The aim appears to be to simplify the installation, coordination and management of networks via one provider.

GTC also promises that house builders “will not face higher costs by choosing UltraStream300” because the solution will offer an attractive structure of rebates payable on connection. “This means installing the latest high-speed fibre broadband will not cost the housebuilder a penny more than old-fashioned copper-cable options,” added the operator.

It’s of course always cheapest to lay new fibre optic cables during the earliest phases of a new build and that’s precisely the approach that GTC takes, although recently it’s come under a lot of pressure from BT and Virgin Media’s rival FTTP push into new builds.

Clive Linsdell, GTC’s CEO, said:

“High-speed broadband is the fourth utility, essential to today’s homeowners. UltraStream300 enables house builders to offer the high-speed fibre broadband new homeowners demand, with an installation process that is low-cost and stress-free.”

So far, so familiar. At this point we are not sure how the above service differs from what GTC has been offering property developers for the best part of two years (examples here and here), except perhaps to formalise or promote it a little more. The press release was issued late yesterday afternoon and we did promptly put our query to them, but so far there has been no response.

Otherwise those who move into a new build development that harnesses GTC’s open access FTTH network will be able to buy broadband services via four different ISPs, including Seethelight, VFast, Direct Save Telecom and Love Your Broadband; the latter doesn’t seem to list its packages in public. On top of that GTC’s deal with Sky means that the new homes can also benefit from premium TV services, which are delivered via a Fibre Integrated Reception System (FIRS).

The FIRS system delivers TV services via GTC’s fibre optic cables and thus only needs to utilise a single central satellite receiver and aerial array to cover a whole site, which is better than putting a dish on every roof or apartment block that wants one. On the other hand any problem with the centralised distribution can affect a wide area and we’ve seen that happen before.

On top this GTC recently agreed a deal with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) for new-build homes nationwide (here). The offer incorporates unlimited free site assessments, dedicated site technical management and after-sales benefits (e.g. product training, promotional marketing material and a complimentary sales-suite) for new builds. BT, Virgin Media and others have also reached a similar arrangement.

We should add that GTC is part of the Brookfield Utilities UK (BUUK) group, which also includes Independent Fibre Networks (IFNL).

UPDATE 10:50am

GTC’s PR crew has finally been in touch to confirm that what has changed since 2014 is not the technology, but how it is offered to builders and developers.

Earlier this year GTC formed a partnership with the HBF (mentioned above), one element of which is to offer HBF members a discounted fibre package from GTC. What had been a singular arrangement between GTC and a developer/housebuilder (and still continues as such with HBF non-members) now is an official offering through the HBF. It was agreed that, as such, it should have a title that reflected the (minimum) broadband delivery speed. Hence UltraStream300.

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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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