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BT Wholesale Add 18Mbps FTTC Product to UK Broadband Checker

Sunday, December 11th, 2016 (2:24 pm) - Score 3,019

The BT Wholesale Checker has added a couple of new columns to reflect the availability of Openreach’s (BT) 18Mbps (2Mbps upload) capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) based “fibre broadband” product, which is aimed at people who still use slow ADSL copper broadband lines.

The new 18Mbps tier is currently still in trial (details here) and was created as an upgrade path for those who live in areas where both FTTC and ADSL are available. However the extra cost of a normal 40-80Mbps FTTC product (this frequently adds a premium of +£5-£15 inc. VAT per month at retail) can be unattractive, particularly if people choose not to upgrade because the speed uplift vs ADSL is simply too small (i.e. FTTC speeds can fall a lot lower than the headline levels).

As a result Openreach created a new 18Mbps tier that is a little bit cheaper (£4 +vat per month at wholesale) than the cheapest 40Mbps tier (£6.90 +vat per month) and they made it available to those who currently receive sub-10Mbps speeds on ADSL / ADSL2+ based broadband lines. The new service is still more expensive for ISPs than an ADSL2+ solution, but the cost is now much closer.

A number of ISPs have been quietly testing the new tier, most prominently via Sky Broadband’s special Sky Fibre Lite product (here), which has been offered to about 20,000 of their subscribers with slow ADSL lines.

Incidentally Sky’s trial is due to come to an end next week (14th Dec) and now it’s been noted via our Inbox (thanks Phil), as well as Thinkbroadband’s Forum, that BTWholesale has updated their checker to reflect the new product (don’t expect it to show much as the trial is still running with limited availability).


We’re unsure why there’s a SIM option showing for the new product, but SIM is usually shorthand for Simultaneous Provide (i.e. broadband and line rental / phone being provided at the same time or as close to that as possible).

We know a few sub-10Mbps ADSL2+ users who might be tempted to take FTTC with this new tier, assuming ISPs price it like the normal ADSL2+ style services.

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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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35 Responses
  1. gerarda says:

    The checker update, like everything else to do with Openreach at the moment, appears to have gone wrong, and after a period of claiming any phone number I put must be a new one or a non BT line, the checker is now unavailable

    1. TheFacts says:

      OK here.

  2. John says:

    showing up for me home and work.

    1. gerarda says:

      Yes – its back working now

  3. fastman says:

    gerada positive as ever I see

    1. gerarda says:

      If you had been without broadband for 6 weeks because of a series of openreach cockups I doubt if you would be positive

    2. MikeW says:

      Agreed. Some things about FTTC can be really botched – and it screws up your patience.

      Have you tried going back to ADSL temporarily?

    3. gerarda says:

      The last 3 of the Openreach mistakes were failures to connect me to adsl on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    4. AndyH says:

      Openreach won’t connect ADSL on Sat/Sun fyi.

    5. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: “Some things about FTTC can be really botched – and it screws up your patience.”

      Or perhaps use a better ISP like Xilo or AAISP which are better at chasing up Openreach?

    6. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton – Depends what went wrong in the first place. Not sure which ISP gerarda uses, but they should know you cannot book flexible appointments for tie pair/migration work at weekends.

    7. gerarda says:

      @andyh then the mistake was promising plusnet that they would

    8. gerarda says:

      @andyh it was what I believe is called an expedited order and should have been done on Friday.

      And if both Openreach and plusnet ceo intervention cannot make things happen I doubt if another isp would

    9. AndyH says:

      With Plusnet, I would be very very surprised if a WBC FTTC to WBC ADSL 1/2 order is correctly accepted and processed by their systems. I’ve seen way too many occasions where their systems have not correctly accepted the order and they have not let the customer know.

      Also with Plusnet, I’ve not seen them normally offer weekend appointment for installs before only for faults.

    10. gerarda says:

      @AndyH Do you work for Openreach? Your reply is typical of the can’t do, blame everyone else, don’t communicate properly, jump to the wrong conclusions, and never ever admit that Openreach can make a mistake behaviour that has typified this saga from start to finish,

    11. AndyH says:

      I’m in no way connected/work for/have anything to do with Openreach.

      If Plusnet have promised you something that Openreach cannot do/do not offer, then I fail to see that the fault of Openreach. At the same time, there is clearly more to your case than you’ve published on here. I would suggest posting it on the Plusnet forums so one of the CSA can respond and give some information.

    12. gerarda says:


      The broken promises and mistakes are all Openreach’s. Just take my word for it.

    13. MikeW says:

      In my experience, once you’ve jumped into the kind of thing @gerarda explains (Plusnet CEO complaint), then you are a long way off their automated systems and the standard customer service offerings. The people inside PN who can help you are quite capable of taking the manual steps to sort you out … including things like expedited orders.

      The problem is that, in the end, even an expedited job didn’t get carried out. Presumably “expedited” just means it jumped the queue of other jobs at the same care level to get scheduled on the day … but didn’t overtake jobs of a higher care level. Or it screwed up and didn’t really get scheduled.

    14. AndyH says:

      Expedited order just means as you say, it takes place ahead of other orders. It is still subject to the normal working times though of Openreach – if you want a flexible installation slot, then it has to be booked individually also.

      Normally the only time you see an expedited order is if one has been placed for a business. It’s a costly option (around £200 I believe) and I know that Plusnet will not place an expedited order unless someone is picking up the bill for it. If an order is placed and it fails to proceed, there is an explanation left on the notes (you can also track the engineer realtime now too). So it sounds very suspicious to me when someone is told that they will have their ADSL service activated on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

    15. Ignition says:

      I suppose one way around this is to pay more for better service rather than pile high, sell cheap, mass market providers whose support can be pretty variable, even when executive offices are involved.

    16. MikeW says:

      I can certainly confirm that Plusnet will expedite some orders. It has happened to me twice, and I’ve not had to pay.

      However, both cases came about because Openreach screwed things up previously (and right royally) … so the expedited order should be seen within the context of an escalated issue going on between Plusnet and OR, and being handled by a named contact within Plusnet.

      @gerarda’s issue sounds like it falls bang in the middle of the same territory.

    17. gerarda says:


      Please stop arguing over things where you are not in full possession of the facts. I could spend several hours writing down the saga of what has happened to our business broadband since 17 October, but in summary openreach have cocked up repeatedly.

    18. AndyH says:

      I’m not arguing with anyone – I am just correcting how the procedures and processes work.

      I would add that it’s you that has decided to have a rant on here at Openreach, on an article completely irrelevant to your issue or service standards provided by Openreach.

    19. gerarda says:

      As mikeW has already told you we are well beyond normal processes and procedures although I can imagine some middle management Openreach dinosaur saying to himself “I don’t care what Clive Selley has told me to do I am not going to expedite an order on a Friday. “

    20. gerarda says:

      It appears that the dinosaur has been given rather firmer instructions because the ADSL order was expedited yesterday and the FTTC one this afternoon.

    21. MikeW says:

      So did either of them actually get you a working connection?

    22. gerarda says:


      The ADSL would not connect, but not too surprised as it was pretty flaky before I got FTTC and the village has suffered a huge deterioration in already awful ADSL speeds since the AIO cabinet was installed.

      However the FTTC worked first time and I am getting the full available speed!

    23. MikeW says:

      Excellent outcome. Pants journey, though.

  4. Ignition says:

    Showing on checker and available for provide. Not a surprise. The cabinet is pretty high for premises passed and the ADSL really bad.

    1. MikeW says:

      Codelook seems to report cabinets that have some 18/2 availability.

      From that, I found some places where the BTW checker gave a “yes” for 18×2 provide availability, but they had just “–” for the Sim availability.

    2. Ignition says:

      Same here, available for provide but not sim. As those who read this site regularly might remember ADSL speeds here are horrible.

      Might see more 288 -> 384 port cabinet upgrades if this hits the big time.

  5. Jerry says:

    i have just checked on the site and after the sim option it’s got left in jumper. What does that mean?

    1. Lee says:

      The engineer must have been a bit warm on his last job so took his jumper off and left it in the cabinet.

    2. DTMark says:

      It means the engineer is Mrs. Doyle.

  6. Jerry says:

    Openreach at cabinet jumper given back to engineer smiles all round.
    I will sleep easier knowing its been sorted.

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