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BT Openreach Officially Unveils 1Gbps FTTP Broadband Service and Price

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 (1:02 pm) - Score 7,401
young openreach bt fibre optic engineer

After a long trial Openreach (BT) has finally announced the official launch of their new 500Mbps and 1Gbps (or 1000Mbps+ if you prefer) Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) based broadband products and prices, which marks a significant boost from its previous top speed of 330Mbps (30Mbps uploads).

The operator’s native FTTP service is currently available to around 327,000 premises across the United Kingdom and they aim to push this coverage to roughly 2 million premises by 2020, albeit with many of those reflecting new build home developments and businesses. But until today the top download speed of this service had been limited to 330Mbps (Megabits per second).

Naturally Openreach are being mindful of the fact that a growing number of rival fibre optic networks (e.g. Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, B4RN etc.) can already offer 1Gbps capable packages and as such they’ve been busy trialling a 1Gbps tier product for quite awhile. However rivals often offer symmetric speeds, while Openreach’s new products remain asymmetric with slower uploads.

Part of this trial has involved the testing of new processes and techniques, which aim to make the expensive deployment phase both quicker and cheaper. At the same time Openreach has sought to reduce the end-user installation time (a simple 2 hour appointment will often be all that’s now needed); this has in the past proven to be a hindrance due to the need for “multiple visits by an engineer.”

Today we finally learn how much the new tiers will actually cost and when ISPs can start to offer them.

From Wednesday 7th Dec 2016, ISPs will be able to order (+vat):

* 500Mbps Download / 165Mbps Upload at £55 p.c.m. rental and £500 connection
* 1000Mbps Download / 220Mbps Upload at £80 p.c.m. rental and £500 connection

By comparison the existing 330Mbps option continues 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, 20% VAT, service features, profit margins and various other costs on top.

It’s perhaps also fair to say that the new tiers are considered premium options, which have more of a business focus, and as such they will end up being somewhat more expensive than the residential focused 1Gbps options from ISPs like Hyperoptic (i.e. £63 per month for 1Gbps).

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“We’re committed to taking the UK from being a superfast to an ultrafast nation, and whilst we’re extending the reach of our Fibre-to-the-Premises network, we’re also boosting the speed and variety of the services we can offer over it.

We’ve been working closely with our wholesale CP customers to develop these new ultrafast products, and we expect the new higher speed services will be of particular interest to small and medium businesses.

This is another example of how our mixed technology approach is getting the fastest possible speeds to the largest number of people in the shortest possible timeframe.”

We should point out that slower FTTP options can also be taken, such as the 40Mbps (2Mbps upload) tier from £15.29 +vat per calendar month (wholesale) that is designed to complement Openreach’s FTTC options.

However the £500 connection charge on the two new tiers is significantly more expensive than the 330Mbps and slower options, all of which attract a one-off fee of just £92 +vat. Openreach has attempted to moderate this impact by running a special offer for the first year (until 8th December 2017), which cuts the fee in half to £250.

Today’s news follows hot on the heels of the first pricing for Openreach’s new 160Mbps and 330Mbps capable G.fast broadband technology (here), which are cheaper and more aimed towards the residential market.

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Mark Jackson
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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28 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all

    Good to see, can this be the new FTTP on demand product?

    • FoD is a related, but ultimately different kettle of fish.

    • Avatar NGA for all

      It does not need to be!

    • Avatar AndyH

      Of course it needs to be. How on earth can you compare a custom FTTP build with a FTTP build in a deployed and ready area?

    • Avatar GNewton

      The original idea of FoD was that the customer pays for the installation of fibre, based on an average radial distance cost, and with the then monthly cost similar to FTTP. This product has long been abandoned though, the current incarnation of BTs FoD is as good as dead, hardly any ISP offers it.

    • Avatar AndyH

      @ GNewton – I’m not quite sure why you keep saying it’s been long abandoned. The recent BTw ISP forum said far from this with major changes to the ordering process and installation. Clearly it’s not a dead product if you’re improving the ordering process, reducing lead times and cutting down the installation timescales.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @AndyH: So why don’t you use FoD then if it was that easily available to you from your ISP? FoD has pretty much priced itself almost out of existence. It’s targeted market niche is too small, businesses go for other telecom products like leased lines or alternative telecoms fibre.

    • Avatar AndyH

      Because I don’t need FoD. I wouldn’t say it’s priced out of existence. How much do you think an equivalent leased line costs over the three year term? It’s a niche product as you say, aimed at a small audience. It’s not a low cost £9.99 product that many people on these forums seem to want it to be…

    • Avatar NGA for all

      @AndyH – it was not niche in its original form. You can plan FTTP native for as few as 4 customers off a splitter.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @NGA – why 4 and not 1?

    • Avatar craski

      FoD would be great for providing more affordable back haul for community projects serving not spots which are near to existing FTTC areas.

    • Running a community scheme off of an already contended connection, remember FoD is not dedicated 300 Mbps down/30 Mbps up would be courting complaints about capacity unless being careful with what is sold. Plus FoD pricing only covers ducting/overhead inside a cabinet footprint.

    • Avatar craski

      @Andrew
      Understood. Plenty smaller projects start off using an 80/20 FTTC connection and distributing that via fixed wireless. Leased line prices are still way too high in rural areas so FoD would be a useful stepping stone from FTTC for small community projects.

  2. Avatar gerarda

    A superfast nation?? Not for 6 million of us

    • Avatar GNewton

      Remember the old days when IBM used to market its modem dial-up service as ‘Super Information Highway’? Calling any VDSL service “superfast” is just plain mockery, and a far cry from being future proof!

  3. @gerarda Nice way of using population to make the issue sound massive. Wonder if the final 8% of premises have the average 2.4 people per premise?

    • Avatar gerarda

      The rest of the country has – why not the final 8%?

    • Avatar MikeW

      Non built-up areas tend to have more people aged 40+, fewer youngsters (both below and above 18). That likely means fewer homes with families of 3 or more, but also fewer single-occupancy homes too.

      I was intrigued about the balance, so figured the answer from ONS data for England and Wales…

      – Urban areas average 2.36 people per household
      – Rural areas average 2.34 people per household

      The only obvious thing that stood out is that the “sparse situation” makes a difference. The average, in both urban and rural cities, towns and villages in sparse settings, drops to 2.1-2.2 people. Counter-intuitively, the “rural hamlets in sparse settings” category remains bang on the norm at 2.35

    • Avatar gerarda

      @mikeW

      I think it the low occupancy in sparse settings which is counter-intuitive. People tend to move from these as they get older and be replaced by families. A possible explanation is that second homes may have a disproportionate influence on these.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I couldn’t pretend to figure out why.

      Perhaps the “second home” thing has an effect on top of my numbers. The statistics I looked at counted households – which, by definition, had at least one occupant. Second-homes would have had zero, and been excluded.

  4. Avatar Oggy

    Didn’t a B4RN spokesperson say on this website just last week that BT couldn’t offer 1Gbbps?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      They did 🙂 even though they’ve been offering for it many years, many more than b4rn

    • Avatar Oggy

      No doubt they’ll describe the BT offering as a ‘superfarce’.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      It’s GPON , not point to point so.. it is indeed a superfarce

    • Avatar brianv

      @Oggy Sorry, you’ll have to explain where we sign up for FTTH from BT. Like many, we’ve been waiting now since 2006. There is no real FTTH product is there? Plenty marketing but no tangible fibre product for 99.97% of punters.

      BT spends a magnitude more on marketing its vapourware fibre than it does on actually supplying it! Nowt but a cruel illusion to fool the City.

      Reminds me of a skywave/satellite ISP in the early noughties. Their adverts offered an amazing deal. £30pcm for 10Mbps, iirc. Quite the ticket at the time. We parted with £200 for “supply of kit”, and they promptly vanished. Maybe the rogues behind that scam are propping up the phony fibre rollout at BT, today?!

  5. Avatar GNewton

    Just to clarify: To the best of knowledge, BT has not offered a 1Gbps FTTP service in the past. However, they do offer a much more expensive leased-line service in many (though not all) areas. 2 different things though. The BT announcement is about FTTP broadband.

  6. Avatar fastman

    Gnewton

    Leased lines are SLA driven and have certain Guarantees around availability and Service and up time they are also uncontended — FTTOP does not

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