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Openreach Offers to Carry Customer Kit for G.fast Broadband ISPs

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 (2:30 pm) - Score 11,244

Openreach (BT) has announced a new Proof of Concept (PoC) for their rollout of G.fast based “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) services, which will see them offering to carry ISP Customer Premises Equipment (e.g. routers and modems) on their vehicles in order to help improve service delivery.

At present the 330Mbps capable hybrid fibre G.fast service is currently still waiting to fully enter the Early Market Deployment (EMD) phase (ISPs tell us it’s running a bit behind) and we expect it to cover 1.1 million UK homes and business by March 2018, before ramping up into a full commercial roll-out to reach 10 million premises by the end of 2020.

The new PoC will thus form part of Openreach’s G.fast based Next Working Day provision and Harmonised Repair appointments. The advantage of this approach is that ISPs could in theory get the installation and CPE hardware setup all on the same day, which probably won’t be too difficult initially because most early installs are likely to use Openreach’s own Huawei MT992 modem.
Openreach BT gfast modem huawei mt992
ISPs already have the option of providing their own approved CPE kit for G.fast and so instead of posting those out separately they could now simply ask Openreach to carry them along inside their vans. Take note, Openreach currently charges £99 +vat for Install with a communications providers router or £150 for a Managed install with their own Openreach modem (pictured above).

Sadly the public briefing doesn’t offer any further details, thus it’s unclear what restrictions or costs apply and whether the CPE kit that Openreach offers to carry could also include other hardware like TV set-top-boxes (doubtful). We have asked and are awaiting a reply.

However we do recall the idea being discussed by BT Wholesale in September and at the time we understood that it might only be offered to ISPs which could commit to doing 10,000 installs. Obviously this limits the service to larger providers but then that’s probably unavoidable as it would be tricky to do it for the smallest providers (i.e. easier to just post the kit to end-users).

As usual this PoC is just a test and it may or may not turn into a new product offering for ISPs and their subscribers. Meanwhile BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet are all taking part in the current G.fast trials, although we know that other ISPs (e.g. Cerberus Networks) are taking orders for G.fast and most of those expect to go live during the Jan-March 2018 window (this may be too optimistic).

We should caveat the above by saying that some ISPs are seeing a few delays with the G.fast work and so commercial product launches may be put back further into 2018.

The 46 G.fast Pilot Locations
Armley, West Yorkshire
Balham, South London
Bath Kingsmead, Somerset
Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire
Bolton, Greater Manchester
Brierley Hill, West Midlands
Brighton Hove, East Sussex
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire
Chorlton, Manchester
Derby, Derbyshire
Donaldson, Edinburgh
Eltham, South London
Gillingham, Kent
Glasgow Bridgeton
Glasgow Douglas
Glasgow Langside
Great Barr, West Midlands
Hammersmith, West London
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Hunslet, West Yorkshire
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Kidbrooke, South London
Liverpool Central
Lofthouse Gate, West Yorkshire
Luton, Bedfordshire
Manchester East
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Newbury, Berkshire
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newmarket, Suffolk
North Birmingham
Parsons Green, West London
Portsmouth North End
Pudsey, West Yorkshire
Rochdale, Manchester
Rusholme, Manchester
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
South Clapham, South London
St. Austell, Cornwall
Swansea, Wales
Swindon, Wiltshire
Upton Park, East London
Wandsworth, South London and
Whitchurch, South Glamorgan

UPDATE 3:04pm

Credible sources inform us that the PoC is limited to covering 1,000 installs across all ISPs and it’s only for routers / modems (not TV set-top-box kit etc.). The test will run from 10th January 2018 until 30th March 2018 (or until 1,000 CPE jobs are completed) in 19 of the initial G.fast pilot areas.

Leave a Comment
17 Responses
  1. Asrab says:

    Hey i though the deployment were for 10 million ?

  2. Marty says:

    I know it’s too early too say. Is there any way of finding out which cabinets are too be enabled when it reaches the EMD phase?

    1. CarlT says:

      Nope. As you mentioned, too early to say.

      That said, it might be better to hope you’re skipped for this in favour of FTTP later.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      Not above the aforementioned list, although no doubt we’ll see another rollout phase announcement in due course but I don’t expect that to state individual cabinets (they don’t tend to offer so much detail).

  3. CarlT says:

    All well and good but if they do actually want to trial this they may wish to release pods in all the relatively newly added pilot areas to CPs at some point. They have been sitting there for a couple of months and more doing nothing.

  4. TomTom says:

    Are these modem locked or unlocked?

  5. Optical says:

    Bath a G.fast Pilot Locations,would have like to have got on the trial, but still know nothing & nothing happening here.

  6. James A Keogh says:

    Edinburgh… What about rural Scotland we are forgotten when it comes to broadband. the fibre cable has been laid less then 10 meters from our house but open reach say we can’t get broadband as we are too far from the cabinet which is a few miles away.. it’s an absolute joke to see that they are rolling out super fast services when the whole of the country isn’t getting the last rollout it’s ridiculous and open reach should be held to task ..

    1. Mark says:

      I feel your pain. We can get broadband at about 2-4mb speed while every house around us gets 80mb. This is because our house was here first and connected to a box miles away. And openreach won’t move people to other boxes. You will likely get the same one day and the killer joke is you have to pay the same for the terrible service. Openreach are such fun.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Openreach don’t have to provide you with any Internet services what so ever, there is no task to hold them to. That’s being said for you mark, it’s not nessecarily as simple as moving your plant, could be that there are no common points between your cabinets depending on the way cables are running as openreach aren’t obliged to provide you with any minimum broadband service just telephony. In which case it could involve digging up roads,paying councils to let them dig up roads, new ducting, new cables on top of labour all of which can be costly and that cost would fall to you and going through standard channels wouldn’t get you anywhere as it’s not something your service provider can jusy book in. You would have to wright to openreach direct and arrange it yourself. Things can be done you just have to not expect it for free or for a reduced cost.

  7. Cmann says:

    This is awesome and everything, but will still never be as fast as the 1gig speed offered by Hyperoptic!

    1. 125us says:

      Hyperoptic don’t allow other ISPs to use their network so the issue of engineers delivering kit for those other ISPs seems unlikely to arise.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Issue is that gfast isn’t gonna fix most people’s issues, only works at 300mbps if your on top of your cab, after 350m (including your internal wiring) it dies.
    Not gonna fix many people’s issues, the only people that’ll get it will be people who can currently get 80mbps through fttc anyway

    1. GNewton says:

      This is a valid point. Demand for G.fast will be low because most users in the G.fast coverage areas already got good enough VDSL services, or VM cable. So why pay extra for G.fast?

    2. Aled says:

      An upgrade from 40-80 to 300+ is a decent enough boost. With the pod extensions it seems to be possible to upgrade small villages to get decent speeds, but they’ll go for the mass market first.

      Virgin were there first with faster speeds – but honestly my experience with them has been frustrating to say the least, what’s the point of a fast network that only works at that speed when I’m at work?

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