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Vodafone UK to Focus on FTTH, But No Firm Plans for G.fast Broadband

Thursday, January 11th, 2018 (8:31 am) - Score 6,454

Telecoms operator Vodafone has told ISPreview.co.uk that they have “no firm plans to launch” ultrafast broadband products based off Openreach’s (BT) new 330Mbps capable G.fast technology. Instead they intend to focus on preparing their new 1Gbps FTTH service for launch “later this year“.

At present Vodafone’s existing line-up of Home Broadband packages reflect a traditional selection of copper and hybrid-fibre based ADSL and FTTC (VDSL2) technologies, with the latter offering a maximum download speed of up to 76Mbps. The operator’s bundles also happen to be some of the cheapest in the United Kingdom, which seems designed to help grow their customer base as quickly as possible (currently at c.300,000).

Last year Vodafone and Cityfibre also jointly announced a new deal, which could potentially see a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) broadband network being deployed for up to 5 million UK premises by 2025 (here). The £500m Phase One of this roll-out is expected to start during the second half of 2018 and focus on around 12 cities, reaching a “minimum” of 1 million UK homes (a decision on whether to extend this will be taken later).

However the deal also raised a question or two about Vodafone’s stance toward Openreach’s new hybrid-fibre G.fast technology, which should reach 10 million premises by the end of 2020. Quite a few ISPs, including major providers such as BT and TalkTalk, are already in the advanced pre-launch preparation phase for this service but Vodafone remain non-committal.

A Spokesperson for Vodafone told ISPreview.co.uk:

“It is something that we are evaluating it but have no firm plans to launch. Our main focus is on offering great value Fibre Broadband today as well as working on the launch of Fibre to the Home (FTTH) later this year, which promises to provide a superior broadband experience for customers.”

Vodafone’s position is understandable, although we suspect that they’ll probably still adopt G.fast in order to remain competitive in the many areas where their fledgling FTTH network will not reach (full fibre takes years longer to roll-out). Otherwise they’d risk handing an advantage to some of their biggest competitors.

We are currently looking forward to the moment when Vodafone announces which cities have been chosen as the first to benefit from the new Gigabit FTTH service.

PICTURED: Nick Jeffery (CEO Vodafone UK) and Greg Mesch (CEO CityFibre).

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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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12 Responses
  1. Matthew Williams says:

    To be honest this is good for the U.K. we have enough ISP who will resell G.Fast but Vodafone and Cityfibre are focusing on a new FTTH network I think that is better for the competition in this country. Some Urban areas will have a choice of 3 Ultrafast Providers BT [Resellers] Virgin and Vodafone. We don’t have this at present so think this will be good

    1. AndyC says:

      I disagree, i believe that the way we are going with all these people doing their own networks will prevent competition as only they will use it so anyone else wanting to do fttp will have to overbuild with no guarantee of getting the connection off someone else.

      The only way it will increase competition is by ofcom forcing all fttp providers to open their networks to the competition, look at the usa they have whole city’s where there is only the choice of one provider because they cabled/fibred the whole city and no-one else will without a good chance of getting loads of subs.

      I always found it odd the way everyonw has a go at bt for haveing a monopoly and yet we are now seeing the same with the likes of cityfibre, virgin, b4rn, ect who are starting large scale fttp rollouts and uet noone cares that they are the only provider you can use on those networks.

      If openreach turned round tomorrow and said they would rip out all the copper and do fibre to the whole uk everyone of the current players would scream as then they would lose almost every sub they have and ofcom would scream because all the adsl providers who are also stopping full vdsl rollout because it really needs the tones adsl use to work at max would lose 100% of their customers and lastly joe public would start screaming “why is where i live not at the top of the list to be upgraded”

      I look forward to the flaming now with people saying how haveing 20 strands of fibre all built by differant providers is the best thing since sliced bread and will drive prices so cheap it will be more expencive to buy a pack of fags but this is what i belive and i stand by it.

    2. Rahul says:

      @AndyC: I actually agree with you there, but I also disagree in some other respect.

      I definitely agree that this will cause monopoly! If one particular Fibre ISP installs its network in a particular building apartment, it is probably going to be difficult for a second or third party ISP to also request their permission to install their separate fibre network to that particular building, area, etc. For example Vodafone will definitely not install their Fibre service in Rural Lancashire where B4RN is the ISP that dominates, as it will create competition causing reduced profits. Nor will they install their service anywhere that has CityFibre and Hyperoptic. They will want to install their service in a building or area where there is neither FTTC support or support from any of the other FTTP networks.

      But the problem at the moment with this BT Openreach network is that because that network is shared like in the case of FTTC and ADSL copper, if something goes wrong such as internet disconnections or slow internet speeds with say your ISP whether it be Talk Talk, Sky, Plusnet, SSE, etc you do not know whether to blame the BT Openreach network in this case or your ISP!

      This is the dilemma it causes. For example I had a problem 5 years ago back in 2013 with BE Unlimited* constant disconnections everyday. People on the forums said it was my line and changing ISP will not solve it. So I switched to Sky and indeed they were right, it was the line. I still had drop-outs thanks to the BT Openreach network. Fortunately the BT engineers fixed the fault after about 2 years and this drop-out issue was resolved at the time.

      This is the problem with the BT Openreach monopoly. If something goes wrong, you do not know whether to blame the ISP or the BT network line. And…. when you call your ISP they have to then call the BT Engineer to arrange an appointment to fix the issues on their behalf. This causes extra delay. So the ISP in my case Sky would have no power of their own to solve this fault.

      The situation right now is such that we as people are helpless. We don’t care which provider takes the initiative to install their FTTP fibre network. We just want the bloody service irrespective of who monopolizes it!

      However, there are some positives I’d like to mention in this case. Let’s just say the Fibre network is either CityFibre, Hyperoptic, B4RN, Gigaclear, etc. If there is a problem, you will immediately be able to identify that the problem is with that particular Fibre ISP network! But you have no chance of detecting the potential problems under a BT Openreach shared fibre network. If something goes wrong with the green cabinet exchange it goes wrong for all ISP’s that share the BT Openreach network! This wouldn’t apply in the case of separate FTTP networks, this is why in this instance I support separate ISP FTTP networks! It’s easier to identify the faults of the service and also much easier to write an accurate review on that ISP! But how can you write a negative or positive review on an ISP that shares the BT Openreach network? How will we know for sure that it’s not the problem with that particular BT line? That’s what I am talking about!

    3. AndyC says:

      I see your point there and to be honist it is something i didn’t consider. Im with bt and have been for 9 years now and only had 2 problems, 1 by kellys nicking my pair and 1 when a van backed over the pcp. Both fixed very quickly.

    4. dragoneast says:

      Great ideas. So how much are you all willing to pay for it? At the right price I’m sure will can all find a FTTP provider (eventually). The problem with OpenReach (Virgin, and the rest) is they provide the service we are willing to pay for. I might like my own jet or a chauffeured limousine, but I’m not willing to pay for it.

      And who do you blame when you get caught up in a traffic jam? Anybody you choose, I suppose? The only thing that matters is to blame somebody (else). If it makes u feel better I suppose. I just happen to prefer making the best of what I have to moaning all the time about what I haven’t. Just I’ve never yet managed to make the most of it, with broadband, or anything else for that matter!

    5. AndyC says:

      @dragoneast im currently paying BT £89 per month (bb and calls but before call charges), and like you im not in a rush, it will come when it comes. if you read my main post im not complaining about waiting, my point was trying to be that the way things are going we are going to end up with regional “monopolies” on fttp providers.

      I can afford to get FTTPOD at the current rates (im band d apparently) if i wanted to but i dont have the need.

      At no point ever have i complained about getting FTTP for cheap, i know it will cost if/when it gets to us.

      so how much do you pay dragon? remember the vast cost to openreach is these “legacy” networks that have to be maintained, or if you prefer you have 6 cars but only drive 1 but you HAVE to keep paying for the upkeep of the other 5 and are not allowed to sell them off.

      As for roads i blame no one for traffic jams as its a fact of life that no one wants to walk and the whole uk road system in towns/city’s was designed for the 20 rich people who had cars and all the push bikes plus horse and carts that everyone else had. in fact i always leave early to get where im going and if i get there early i can just sit back and have a coffee till my appointment. no stress!

  2. james says:

    It’ll never come around here. only the model citys they always use

  3. Steve says:

    FTTP would be completely wasted on that useless VF router/modem that they supply. As they would need to provide new kit hopefully they take the opportunity to provide something decent.

  4. Chris Jarvis says:

    Why has this article completey ignored the fast broadband service offered by VIRGIN media?
    I live in Sussex and just had a FREE speed upgrade from Virgin. I am aware most if not all the ISPs in your article use the BT lines so in truth how can they vary much?
    Time for an honest comparison I think

    1. occasionally factual says:

      Article about Virgin https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/01/virgin-media-uk-shelve-possible-northumberland-broadband-rollout.html
      As they say, no such thing as bad publicity.

  5. DS says:

    BT and Openreach cannot deliver what it’s marketing department sell. It’s back office function is a shambles and they are lucky that
    the flaccid Ofcom are all asleep. Ask BT to publish its customer churn rate and actual complaints rate per 100,000 customers , not the fairy stories published by ofcom.

    1. Oggy says:

      Are you willing to tell us what you allege the churn rate really is?

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