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Good News for Openreach “Fibre Broadband” ISPs – Cheaper Cablelinks

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 (4:03 pm) - Score 2,350

Internet service providers that make use of Openreach’s network in the United Kingdom will be pleased to learn that the operator has dropped the price of their 1Gbps and 10Gbps Cablelink services, which are often used to support “fibre broadband” services like FTTC (G.fast or VDSL2) and FTTP.

Not so long ago ISPs could only purchase 1 Gigabit per second capable Cablelinks (GEA – Generic Ethernet Access) to support their network connectivity, which was fine for the older generation of ‘up to’ 40-80Mbps FTTC (VDSL2) broadband services but would have struggled with the new era of 330Mbps G.fast and the growth of FTTP. Luckily a 10Gbps Cablelink has already been introduced to tackle that.

The good news for providers is that the cost of both Openreach’s 1Gbps and 10Gbps GEA Cablelinks will be reduced from 6th October 2017, which is just in time for the first residential G.fast packages to surface on the market.

Openreach Statement

We’re pleased to announce the following price reductions to GEA Cablelink charges effective from 6 October 2017:

* 1 Gigabit GEA Cablelink connection charges reduced from £2,000 to £790
* 10 Gigabit GEA Cablelink connection charges reduced from £10,000 to £1,800

These price reductions are a result of a change in cost recovery approach. The GEA Cablelink product and price at present are uniform across all GEA products (GEA-FTTC, GEA-FTTP and G.Fast), however as our Ultrafast products (GEA-FTTP and G.Fast) evolve this may change in the future.

It’s worth remembering that separate links are usually needed to supply different customers (i.e. VDSL2 or FTTP), but today’s price drop is still likely to have a positive impact on ISPs and that may indirectly benefit consumers.

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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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15 Responses
  1. Simon says:

    That’s some drop!

    Nice one OR

  2. cost recovery my rear end... says:

    “It’s worth remembering that separate links are usually needed to supply different customers”

    Is there any technical reason for this, or just yet another OR scam to ‘recover’ costs from all of their non-BT ‘customers’?

    1. Tim says:

      Usually multiple links per exchange are needed when the exchange has so many cabinets what a new cable link is needed to another switch for another set of cabinets.

      I’d suspect as G.Fast services are new and not all providers would take or want theses services yet to get added to a new switch and thus a new cable link is required.

      Remember that GEA cable links may give access to all cabinets on an exchange or even all cabinets on multiple child exchanges. It just depends on the number of cabinets as to how they are split up.

    2. cost recovery my rear end... says:


      Its understandable that the handover switch, or perhaps even cluster of switches, may be needed to handle multiple SP’s taking Cable Link in that exchange… but is there a reason why they cannot connect the incoming feeds from G.Fast, VDSL and legacy ADSL?

      Sure some providers may choose to take multiple links to separate traffic from the different access mediums, but why should all providers be forced to do so?

    3. Tim says:

      Splitting up may be partly due to VLAN limitations. I don’t really know. But I wouldn’t design any network where everything goes back to one or just a few points. It’s better split up as a failure at any point affects less customers.

      IFNL for example do it differently but they are very small. With them you simply take a Gbit handover in Telehouse.

    4. CarlT says:

      In the case of ADSL it’s simple enough to explain why it doesn’t traverse these links – it’s not a GEA product.

    5. AndyH says:

      “@Is there any technical reason for this, or just yet another OR scam to ‘recover’ costs from all of their non-BT ‘customers’?”

      Yes, hardware limitations.

    6. cost recovery my rear end... says:


      Interesting, are the limitations something like 4096 vlans per cable link port or hand-over switch?

      Is each GEA customer service handed over as a separate vlan?

      If so would a SP who manages to get more customers in a fibre parent exchange than the vlan limit be required to take an additional cable link regardless of the capacity available on the existing one?

    7. MikeW says:

      Perhaps a traffic dimensioning issue. It might be that the L2S’s for G.Fast are a newer generation, with higher capacity backplanes (like the DSLAMs themselves), and higher switch fabric capacity.

    8. cost recovery my rear end... says:


      “A GEA Cablelink will be required for each individual OLT/Layer 2 Switch at a PoH and CPs can take more than one GEA Cablelink per OLT if required, subject to availability within the Point of Handover (PoH)”

      So the OLT’s coming in from the MSAN’s goes into an OR Layer2 switch, if these L2S are not linked to clustered does that mean when all of the ports allocated for CP use on that switch are used up then no further CP’s can have access to customers who are downstream of these devices?

  3. adslmax Real says:

    That’s a very good news for ISPs. It’s sound like that G.Fast new product will be added to ISPs shortly. Probably in October.

    1. Simon says:

      The got to add the gear first!. No sign of it in my area – probably never

    2. GNewton says:

      It might be good news for ISPs. However, G.Fast is mostly located around urban cabinets, not from nodes beyond cabinets, and there there won’t be much of a market demand for it. Also, it will have to compete with Virgin Media which already offers those ultrafast speeds.

    3. AndyH says:

      @ GNewton – You’re the one who says that the UK is far behind everyone else and needs full fibre. Now you’re saying there will not be much demand for Openreach’s ultrafast speeds.

      You’ve answered your own concerns why we don’t have a full fibre network in the UK.

    4. Bill says:

      Erm @AndyH I think you may missed the point again, demand will be low because those people who could get Gfast already get the fastest speeds on VDSL.

      Discussed at length on another thread if you remember, but even then you were avoiding the point.

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