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ISP TalkTalk Business Confirm 330Mbps UK G.fast Broadband Trial

Monday, April 9th, 2018 (2:02 pm) - Score 7,124
talktalk business logo 2017

The business division of residential ISP TalkTalk, which is naturally called TalkTalk Business, has announced that they’ve started a trial of 330Mbps capable hybrid fibre G.fast broadband technology for Wholesale and Partner customers. The commercial launch will then follow sometime this “summer“.

Openreach’s new G.fast technology is technically still in the pilot phase, although it’s expected to cover 10 million premises (c.40% of the UK) by the end of 2020 and several ISPs (e.g. BT, Cerberus Networks and Uno) have already launched packages. Meanwhile other ISPs, such as TalkTalk’s own residential division (here), continue to trial related packages ahead of this summer’s expected commercial launch.

The technology itself works in a similar way to existing Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) networks by running a fibre optic cable to your local PCP Street Cabinet, which is then fitted with a vented extension “pod” that houses the line cards (the pods can handle up to 48 ports, but they will soon support 96). After that the G.fast service (part of the FTTC family) reaches your home via the existing twisted pair copper line.

gfast_cabinet_internals

People living within c.250-350 metres of their PCP cabinet should see the most benefit, although faster than VDSL2 (80Mbps max) speeds could potentially be achievable at up to around 500 metres. The top two wholesale G.fast product tiers offer download speeds of up to 160Mbps (30Mbps upload) and up to 330Mbps (50Mbps upload), while a fault threshold for the service has been set at 100Mbps (here).

Apparently the new TalkTalk Business trial will also offer an unlimited usage proposition in order to match their existing FTTC portfolio.

Pete Tomlinson, Commercial Director at TalkTalk Business, said:

“As businesses and consumers, we have developed an insatiable appetite for bandwidth and TalkTalk continues to lead the way in meeting this need, embracing new technologies to make them simple and affordable.

As we continue to champion the drive towards a full fibre future, which for many is still too far away, G.Fast can play an important role in helping customers enjoy the speeds they deserve.”

The above news means that we can expect a number of ISPs, which take some or all of their wholesale connectivity services from TalkTalk Business, to introduce their own G.fast packages for homes and businesses in the near future. The trial itself will begin this month (April 2018) and obviously run until the summer. Meanwhile TalkTalk has also uploaded a short blog on the subject but it doesn’t say anything terribly new (here).

The ISP considers G.fast to be a complement for their separate efforts to extend the build out of their own 1Gbps capable “full fibreFTTP network, which at present only exists in York but is planned to cover 3 million premises over the next few years (here).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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44 Responses
  1. Skyrocket

    Forget the G.Fast. Move on to Full Fibre instead. Openreach will going to lose more money on G.Fast than FTTP.

    • AndyC

      are you willing to be on the last exchange to be done? at least this way people get a speed boost so openreach can keep its customers a bit more competitive then by just leaving some unlucky people on vdsl (or less) for 10/20 odd years while they fiber everyone up.

      one company can not do it alone, even if they had the money for it the current rules around “monopolies” and “unfair advantages” would kick in. can you imagine what virgin would start screaming (never mind all the other small full fibre providers who would find themselves in direct competition) if openreach where allowed to run full fibre to every address in the uk? hell the cable companies (of which virgin is one) are the reason we don’t have full fibre right now!

      at least you can get full fibre if you really need it its just a shame its so expensive and takes a long time to get fitted.

    • ASH

      They should focus on G.FAST, 330mbps is fast enough for 99% of all people, G.FAST can be rolled out 10x faster than FTTP.

    • Simon

      sounds like Max – hmm

    • CarlT

      Hi Max 🙂

    • Simon

      lol well it does seem to sound like him, no?

  2. Justme

    Excuse me while I laugh

    • Simon

      If it’s anything like Virgin now deliver their 350 service I would take it – but as it’s never going to come to me – (my best guess, and probably right) then who cares..

    • Chris P

      you’ll get much better uplink on G.Fast than on VM. The problem is now uplink rather than downlink. Some of us want to make use of more cloud storage services or upload photo’s or have remote backups etc typical 7mbs upload just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    • Mike

      “you’ll get much better uplink on G.Fast than on VM…”

      Err NO the 160Mb GFast product is only 30Mb upload MAX. The 330Mb product is 50Mb upload MAX, and to get that you will have to basically live inside the cabinet.

    • A_Builder

      @Mike

      “you’ll get much better uplink on G.Fast than on VM…”

      Err NO the 160Mb GFast product is only 30Mb upload MAX. The 330Mb product is 50Mb upload MAX, and to get that you will have to basically live inside the cabinet.

      I am 140m from the cabinet (wire length) and get a reliable 48/49 upload speed. I don’t like the concept of GFast but it does work pretty much as advertised.

      That is after the initial nightmare of getting it to work properly.

      So personally having a GFast connection at one site and a VM at another site I would have to say, through gritted teeth, that the GFast provides a much better user experience. Both in terms of real stable speed and latency.

    • Mike

      You have Gfast already, is that in a trial area? Oh and im not shocked if you do get near to 50Mb when you are within eyesight (140 Metres) distance of the cabinet. VM top packages are now capable of close to 40Mb upload rates and you do not have to be close to cabinet or similar nonsense to get it.

    • A_Builder

      @Mike

      “You have Gfast already, is that in a trial area? Oh and im not shocked if you do get near to 50Mb when you are within eyesight (140 Metres) distance of the cabinet. VM top packages are now capable of close to 40Mb upload rates and you do not have to be close to cabinet or similar nonsense to get it.”

      I have the full paid for service with fixed IP’s via one of the other CP’s

      All I can comment on is my, relatively positive, experience, which to fair, is better than I expected.

      It works seemingly reliably and seemingly with stable throughput. Wether that is because nobody else is connected to the pod is a strong possibility.

    • Mike

      Can you provide more info on the ISP and pricing?

  3. A_Builder

    I think the issue for OR is how much engineering and management thought and time have been put into GFast.

    GFast is a dead end technology and it is a sticking plaster fix. Sure you get cheap coverage quite quickly.

    And pursuing it does risk the Alt Nets taking huge swathes of the UK away from OR for ever.

    That choice has been made and that is now happening.

    As I have posted before there is only so much of the UK that OR can afford to let get taken away from it by the Alt Nets, and by my back of a fag packet calcs not much % actually, before the general running costs and pension liabilities make BT unviable as an entity.

    • FibreFred

      “GFast is a dead end technology and it is a sticking plaster fix.”

      You could say that about any xDSL technology, or go back even further (IDSN)

      “Sure you get cheap coverage quite quickly.”

      Which is why it is a good option.

      “it does risk the Alt Nets taking huge swathes of the UK away from OR for ever.”

      Alt nets have been able to do this for years, yet… it hasn’t happened.

    • GNewton

      “And pursuing it does risk the Alt Nets taking huge swathes of the UK away from OR for ever.” Which is a good thing, isn’t it? While BT is experimenting with G.fast, it gives other networks more breathing space to build fibre networks.

    • Simon

      Or ISDN even?

      ISDN was the bollocks in it’s day 🙂

  4. Adam

    What happened to G.Fast utilising FTTdp technology, that made the most sense in order to get the best speeds possible with a copper feed to the home. Some houses may never be able to benefit from FTTP.

    • FibreFred

      I believe it is still on the cards. But BT were able to modify aspects of G.Fast to enable them to get good speeds at greater distance (ie the cab), where power isn’t an issue.

      So that is where they have chosen to deploy for now. Possible closer to the premises later.

    • Mike

      Scrapped, would had been a hard sell to get people to pay around £60 for their Gfast and also have to pay to feed it electricity.

  5. Angela Charles

    Nice to see they are spending money on getting speeds of 330Mb to some customers while some of the rest of us are languishing on 1.5Mb average.

    • Simon

      Welcome to the world of BT “lets use other people’s money and spend ours on stupid fat cat bosses” logic!

    • TheFacts

      Other suppliers are available.

    • A_Builder

      And that is sort of my issue with dead ends like GFast.

      The annoyance is that as one of the big four mobile providers said the fibre backhaul isn’t there in a lot of places. There is commercial demand for backhaul to cell towers and where there is a need for a cell tower there are homes/businesses to connect. The issue with OR is that there is no joining up of the two issues. “I’ve got a fibre bundle going to/past there – is there anything else it can be connected to on the way to defray cost boost ROI”. Simple economics of build really.

      And that is where the Alt Nets are winning is accepting that the economics are changed by the fact they can be flexible and blow another few fibres through while they are at it and just accept that it edges up the ROI on the new duct or whatever and provides another stable medium term income stream.

      OR is a bit like the NHS where everything has a fixed individual cost menu without looking at the whole picture of how the difference pieces move together to improve profit/income/ROI and get things done.

    • Fastman

      Welcome to the world of BT “lets use other people’s money and spend ours on stupid fat cat bosses” logic! — actually its openreach money around G-fast (not other peoples)

      are you covered by any programme that has either been fully funded or partially funded (Bduk are funded by both Government and Openreach)

    • GNewton

      “actually its openreach money around G-fast (not other peoples) ”

      Not quite. Openreach is wholly owned by BT who controls Openreach’s budget.

    • TheFacts

      @A_Builder – link to statement about backhaul please.

    • chrisp

      @A_Builder

      that statement on backhaul is nonsense!!

      you can get fibre anywhere you want so long as you pay, the fibre provider will arrange the civils etc and get you hooked up. Its not cheap, but a cell phone mast is not cheap, nor is the kit it needs to run nor are the people needed to configure it, nor is getting power to it. Also those masts will need to connect to at least 2 different pops which may or may not be the local BT exchange. Vodafone purchased C&W precisely for their substantial UK fibre network. They will run their own fibre to their masts, but they likely won’t use any spare fibres’s near their ~18.5k masts they share with O2 for connecting customers to FTTP.

      The availability or not of fibre is not a barrier for mobile phone companies to deploy masts.

    • Mike

      “OR is a bit like the NHS where everything has a fixed individual cost menu without looking at the whole picture of how the difference pieces move together to improve profit/income/ROI and get things done.”

      Nah the NHS, probably does not waste as much cash on hired in/temp/agency help.

    • A_Builder

      @thefacts and @chrisp

      I was quoting

      “A Vodafone spokesman said: “A number of things need to happen to help improve rural coverage. We need to innovate and we need cooperation across industry and government.

      “Vodafone was the first to start rolling out 4G mini masts in areas of natural beauty, and we encourage dialogue with landowners and local authorities to gain access to sites and secure planning permission.

      “But we also need fibre and power cables to link the masts together and to the Internet, which requires investment by the incumbent fixed telecoms player. ”

      Which can be found online at

      http://subscriber.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/07/countryside-dwellers-abandoned-poor-coverage-big-mobile-phone/

    • FibreFred

      “which requires investment by the incumbent fixed telecoms player.”

      Mmmm no, it just means Vodafone need to order a circuit. How do you think all of the masts are served now?

    • A Builder

      @FibreFred

      “which requires investment by the incumbent fixed telecoms player.”

      Mmmm no, it just means Vodafone need to order a circuit. How do you think all of the masts are served now?

      Mmmme my point was that there is more than one way to bring the price of these things down and therefore make more viable.

      And no, not every mast is connected to fibre. Actually a surprising number are connected to bonded DSL products. And/or microwave for an alternative POP. It is not uncommon to find fibre/dsl to one POP and microwave to the failover POP.

      Mobile companies do use alt nets and duct shares to get fibres closer. In fact they will use anything to get fibre runs shorter and cheaper. And the alt nets are very happy to do so as it can make a marginally viable rural deployments a very viable deployment as there is a nice secure source of cash on a long term contract.

    • FibreFred

      Bottom line is the same though. They can put masts wherever. But don’t want to pay for the connection charge. They would rather someone else (the incumbent) stump up the costs.

      If Vodafone want a world class network they’ll have to pay. They aren’t short of money you know.

      https://www.ft.com/content/b72cf328-c911-11e7-ab18-7a9fb7d6163e

    • Curious

      @GNewton

      “Openreach is wholly owned by BT who controls Openreach’s budget.”
      But Openreach receive the funds in the first place, so it is THEIR money. They just may not see all of it, or may even see more than they received.

    • A_Builder

      @FibreFred

      Yup but the economics of building a long duct run are fundamentally changed by getting some shared long term use into it.

      If your sleepy hamlet has no mobile or fibre there then it does makes sense to provision both at once. OK granted the mast probably won’t be in the centre of the hamlet, its location will be determined by topography, but it will be closer.

      At the end of the day, as with anything else there needs to be an ROI case. If the level of “I” can be reduced or the level of “R” increased to a level where the threshold ROI is delivered then the wheels of private investment start going round.

      The cost of the kit and the level of electrical power that is required for a mast have fallen massively in the last 10 yrs.

    • GNewton

      @Curious: Openreach can be regarded as part of BT. It’s not a wholly independent company, Ofcom has failed in this task. Openreach doesn’t even own the network assets. That’s why there is no major co-investor with Openreach.

  6. Simon

    On and buying wank like Minusnet

  7. Skyrocket

    G.Fast is available 40% in my area, the rest get none! Terrible bad move by OR & BT.

  8. Meadmodj

    BT can only invest where there is a ROI unless BDUK wishes to assist.
    FTTC cabinets are getting full which indicates high utilisation. Consumers are very fickle and just require a workable speed at a moderate cost. I reckon a lot will not shell out £230 (Gigaclear) or so to get FTTP in the short term. Therefore FTTC remains a competitive solution as does VM’s VIVID. I am sure BT will have more technical solutions on the back burner and are already planning for EE 5G keeping their powder dry on FTTP.

    • Meadmodj

      To clarify the recent announcement to limit Openreach charges to for the up to 40Mbps FTTC hasn’t helped. BT can through “copper rearrangement” introduce Gfast to more lines by splitting PCPs and introducing Gfast nodes. But where is the incentive when they will receive say £150 per annum on a broadband service that will retail for £320 per annum. I appreciate the ISP has to provide the backhaul bandwidth, accounting, service wrap etc but my point is the margin of return for Openreach investment is relatively small and controlled by Ofcom. The same will happen to FTTP. Hence why BT has to focus its investments. The Altnets have proved that they have an ROI for full fibre and the same would apply to BT, so money isn’t the problem.

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