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Openreach Name Next 59 UK Areas for G.fast Ultrafast Broadband

Monday, June 25th, 2018 (9:16 am) - Score 26,521
gfast_cabinet_internals

Openreach (BT) has announced that a further 59 locations across the United Kingdom will be the next to benefit from their on-going deployment of 330Mbps capable hybrid fibre G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) broadband technology, which aim to cover 10 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.

Until today the operator had only confirmed a total of 46 locations (here and here) for the new service, which largely reflected the coverage of their initial large-scale G.fast pilot that now reaches more than 1 million premises passed. Since then several ISPs have launched related packages, although BT and TalkTalk remain the only major providers with a G.fast service on offer (e.g. BT Ultrafast and TalkTalk Faster 150 Fibre).

In case anybody has forgotten, G.fast works in a similar way to VDSL2 based Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology by running a fibre optic cable to your local PCP Street Cabinet, which is then fitted with an extension “pod” to house the line cards (this can handle up to 48 ports, but it should eventually extend to 96). After that the G.fast service reaches your home via the existing copper cable.

gfast long openreach diagram

The pilot phase is now coming to an end and this means that Openreach will be able to ramp-up their commercial roll-out of the new service. In keeping with that BT’s network access division has today announced the next set of locations to benefit from the new service.

NOTE: The operator’s G.fast and separate Gigabit capable FTTP solutions will generally be deployed in different areas, avoiding overlap. Today’s list of 59 areas should add another 370,000 premises (homes and businesses) across the country to their G.fast coverage.

The 59 New G.fast Locations (June 2018 Update)

Aberdeen Denburn, Acocks Green, Altrincham, Aylesbury, Bedford, Birmingham Central, Bishops Stortford, Boscombe, Bowes Park, Bury St. Edmunds, Bury, Byfleet, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Cosham, Didsbury, Erdington, Gipsy Hill, Guildford, Hampton, Harlow, Harrogate, Headingley, Heywood, Kingston, Lancaster, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Llantrisant, Maidstone, Market Harborough, Mile End, Morley, Narborough, North Finchley, Paignton, Plymouth, Rugby, Shipley, Slough, South Kensington, Southampton, Southend Town, St Albans, Stockton Heath, Swadlincote, Tamworth, Taunton, Telford Wellington, Tunbridge Wells, Walthamstow, Weston Super Mare, Windsor, Wolverhampton, Woodhouse (Berkshire), Woodley, York.

G.fast generally offers two primary wholesale service tiers at 160Mbps (30Mbps upload) and 330Mbps (50Mbps upload), which ISPs are likely to market using slower speeds due to the current advertising rules. The service also attracts a fault threshold 100Mbps (here), which helps to ensure that only consumers able to get an “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) speed will be able to order it.

At retail we tend to observe that G.fast packages are around +£10-£15 per month more expensive than the previous generation of VDSL2 based Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) services (those offered max speeds of up to 80Mbps) and the installation will also attract an engineer visit. However some ISPs will no doubt adopt aggressive pricing in order to encourage early uptake (e.g. TalkTalk).

Kim Mears, Openreach MD for Infrastructure Delivery, said:

“Britons are using their home broadband connections more than ever – consuming more than double the amount of data than they did just three years ago.

A mass of new apps and services which demand higher quality broadband connections are becoming parts of our daily lives in our homes and at work.

That’s why we’re making this huge investment in upgrading the network, to make sure we stay a step ahead of that demand.”

One significant drawback with G.fast is that its coverage is much more limited than VDSL2. G.fast typically prefers copper lines (from street cabinet to homes) that are shorter than c.350 metres (500 metres at most), while VDSL2 could in some cases still operate at line lengths of up to 2km (2000 metres); albeit at much slower speeds due to signal degradation over distance on copper lines.

In order to get good G.fast speeds you generally need a line that’s under 200 metres and this is a big hindrance to network coverage, although future improvements (e.g. harnessing 212MHz of spectrum instead of 106MHz today) could improve this to 350 metres but it’s still a very restricted technology.

Meanwhile gigabit capable FTTP is expected to be used to help tackle some of the bits that G.fast will miss (FTTP currently reaches 560,000 premises but is expected to cover 3 million by the end of 2020 and they aspire to hit 10 million by around 2025). Openreach have also been playing with smaller G.fast nodes, which can be installed on top of telegraph poles (here), and they might consider building standalone G.fast cabinets to help extend coverage.

At this point anybody who orders G.fast will receive an engineer installation, which will often come with a bundled G.fast modem (Huawei MT992) that can be plugged into your router, although a trial of self-installation G.fast is anticipated to surface later in 2018 (here).

As usual if your area isn’t mentioned in today’s news then don’t worry, many more coverage announcements will follow over the next couple of years (today’s only takes us to c.1.5 million out of 10 million premises planned). On top of that this is a commercial rollout, which means that urban and suburban areas which overlap with Virgin Media are more likely to benefit than rural ones.

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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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52 Responses
  1. Paul Wig

    Dam it! Still nothing in my area.

    • Today’s announcement only takes us to about 1.5 million premises out of the 10 million target, so there should be plenty more to come over the next two years.

    • simon

      Me neither as usual down the road gets it – never mind – VM are going to react to this I am sure – and when they do it tends to be nation wide so everyone benefits – something BT can’t seem to do

    • Nobroadband

      Dam it! still no broadband at all in my area.

    • baby_frogmella

      “VM are going to react to this I am sure – and when they do it tends to be nation wide so everyone benefits”
      Since when do VM offer their services nationwide? Eg No VM in North Scotland (Aberdeen, Inverness etc)

    • GNewton

      @Paul Wig: You should see the lack of G.Fast availability as a good sign, increases the chances for getting fibre eventually, bypassing G.Fast.

      G.Fast is a waste of money, market demands will be low for it. The good thing it will other network builders more time to implement proper fibre networks.

    • simon

      baby_frogmella – really? do they not?

      Are you sure about that?

      You knew what I meant anyway.. If you didn’t then I can’t help you there

    • baby_frogmella

      @ Simon

      100% sure that Virgin does not offer a cable service in most (if not all) areas north of the central belt in Scotland. This is probably unlikely to change for the next 100 years.

    • Norm Goldenburgstein.

      Correct virgin don’t offer cable services past montross i think

  2. NGA for all

    OR having crossed the full-fibre mindset barrier this looks dated. Some premises in parts of these locations will get an upgrade if you lucky enough to be with 500m of these boxes.

    You hope this does not undermine those in OR wishing to go at full fibre. Even FTTC when located outside a business park is now used as barrier to full fibre provision, unless it is in the form of a private circuit.

  3. Lyncol

    Yet again…..the fast get to go faster!

  4. optical

    I’m in a trial area,Bath,plenty of G Fast pods,but very few live.

  5. optical

    BT/OR miss a oppertunity to plonk a new cab at bottom of my lane,would have benefited a lot of peeps with G Fast,but they just added an extension to exsisting cab instead.

    • Fastman

      so would funding the new cab, the network reaarangement and all the work that need to be done and how many customer would actually benefit from it wonce it was done

      I assume it would completely unviable so assume no trick missed

  6. Sami

    So does this mean those in that list can start to order a G.fast package, or are they going to install G.fast in these areas from now onwards?

    • New_Londoner

      @Sami
      You’ll need to place an order to get access to any of the G.Fast packages.

    • The press release didn’t include a time-scale (we’ve asked about this but Openreach seem not to be responding today, which is very irritating), but many of the areas listed already have G.fast pods installed so I’d imagine it won’t be long. Keep an eye on the checkers.

      However, as usual, it’s important to stress that they won’t necessarily be covering 100% of every area they list. For example, they list Cardiff but so far as we’ve been told this will only reflect a deployment to 20,000 premises.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “For example, they list Cardiff but so far as we’ve been told this will only reflect a deployment to 20,000 premises.”

      Thought i was going mad when i read only 370,000 premises and then a a list of various towns, counties and cities. Thankfully now it makes sense, more BT misleading. Why they can not just name the postal code areas i will never know, guess it sounds more impressive to pretend you are going to cover huge areas.

  7. Vince

    Meanwhile, plenty of areas still have 20CN (that phase out is taking a long long time!), or no FTTC even. Not even rural or sporadically populated ones either.

  8. Neil

    One of the businesses I work with in Twickenham, have only just got FTTC in their location. One of those locations, that just surrounded by FTTC on all sides, tantalisingly close, but never quite close enough.

    Anyway fingers crossed for G Fast in the next 3 – 5 years.

  9. Skyrocket

    Why is Openreach could improve this to 350 metres but it’s still a very restricted technology? Why is this fuss all about restricted?

  10. Liz

    How about sorting out the areas that don’t have broadband or have a very slow broadband first before increasing everyone that’s already have a good broadband to the faster broadband

    • Techman

      I agree. GFast is just one big micky take for people stuck on slow lines with seemingly no prospect of getting anything faster any time soon

    • Richard wood

      Hear here!

    • New_Londoner

      @Liz, Techman, Richard Wood and others that have made essentially the same point

      Any private sector company should be looking for investments with a commercial return, G.Fast is much more likely to deliver this than deployment to the last few % of premises.which network operator are you expecting to deliver to you without and credible ROI.

      Which company were you expecting to provide service to you and why? Your best bet may be to wait for the USO.

  11. Brian

    If someone is on the North Finchley exchange (included on today’s list), does it take time for Gfast to rollout to each cabinet or should it show up on the BT Wholesale checker immediately? I am interested in a line connected to cabinet 51 but it only shows VDSL, not Gfast today

    • Fastman

      gflast i assume will only be deployed to those cabs in those mentioned exchange areas where it makes commercial sense to do it

  12. Lyncol

    Would you really move to and pay more for G fast if you already have good VDSL performance?

  13. Michael Kearney

    330mb they are behind the times , smaller FTTH companies now doing 1gb down/1gb up full fibre , not clinging on to that last couple of hundred metres of copper and to rub salt in the wounds they are now able to use openreach ducting

  14. Daniel Easson

    As a proud Scot.this is another slap in the face for Scotland..BT Openreach included Aberdeen in this rollout..Aberdeen is dominated by Virgin fibre and has the lowest population of any major scottish city compaired to my home in Glasgow with 3 times the population..to make matters worse due to increased uptake in fibre in my local area all of our fibre speeds dropped 14mbps..its taken 18 years to get any access to basic fibre..not a lot of buisness sense made by BT..or as we call it “Bloody Terrible”

    • Steve Jones

      Aberdeen is not “dominated by Virgin Fibre”. It could hardly be so as Virgin don’t even have a network in Aberdeen. As far as having the smallest population of any major Scottish city, then that’s true if your definition of major Scottish cities only includes the largest three by population as third is where Aberdeen sits.

    • Steve Jones

      Or at least that’s what Think Broadband claims of Aberdeen. No Virgin Media.

      https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/aberdeen-city,S12000033

    • Oggy

      “Aberdeen is dominated by Virgin fibre”??

      Really?? Tell me what happens when you go on the Virgin website using an Aberdeen post code and try to place an order.

  15. Richard wood

    Maybe they should focus on getting everyone more than the 0.3mbps that they currently provide to myself and many, before speeding the others up first. Shocking behaviour may I say.

  16. Tony

    How about instead of investing in this you get areas that are yet to get fibre up and running. Live in area where there isn’t any fibre yet street next to us because it’s on a different cabinet has. Get your act together openreach.

    • Fastman

      you could speak to your local authority to see if it its in a plan or you so you could co-fund it with your community — I assume it no viable or it was viable once and someone obijected (you’d be amazed how many of those there are

  17. Stuart

    It’s a joke I get a maximum of 2MBPS and can’t even watch Netflix Maybe concentrating on people who don’t have Internet are very poor speeds should be a priority

  18. Angela Charles

    “only consumers able to get an “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) speed will be able to order it.”
    What about those of us who can’t get this speeds?
    Are we doomed to be forever on 2.1 d/l, 0.6 u/l?

    • The logic here seems to be that G.fast and VDSL2 will exist in the same areas, thus there’s an overlap in performance vs coverage. So if G.fast exists but can’t deliver 100Mbps+ on your line then it’s assumed that you’d still be able to order a superfast VDSL2 (FTTC) connection instead (up to c.80Mbps).

      If you can currently only get 2.1Mbps down then that’s probably a digitally isolated area and so their commercial deployment of G.fast isn’t likely to reach you, unless the government at some point uses public subsidy to help.

  19. Techman

    Well reading the comments seems like all the GFast roll out will do is upset people who cant even get decent FTTC. No wonder everyone hates BT

  20. william beattie

    On the d side of these cabs which go to the house, there,s still alluminium conductor cables which will not be good for fibre ,

    • Graham Thomas

      We have aluminium all through the village here (DH8), instead of copper. Apparently it’s because of a 1960s strike in copper mines in South Africa. Is this the 21st century? Hmmmm.

      Virgin will never cable (4,000 homes) so the maximum I get is 33Mbps on an 80Mbps TalkTalk FTTC service, but reading some of the speeds here, I feel lucky!

  21. Meadmodj

    “large-scale G.fast pilot that now reaches more than 1 million premises passed” where do these numbers come from? there is no way that these figures are right for the % of lines than can actually achieve the G Fast guaranteed 100Mbps minimum.

  22. Damian

    I’m in one of these area. How long does it take before there’s products that can be oredered?

  23. Matt

    Do you have any indication as to what Cabinets per exchange are being done? My Exchange is listed here but i’d be very happy if my Cabinet is!
    (My PCP already has a regular extension pod and TWO FTTC Cabinets due to demand. I’m hoping that this is seen as plenty of demand!)

  24. Samuel Barr

    I am reading a few threads where gfast pods are installed in areas for over a year yet they are not live. My line was showing planned last month and then that disappeared, a pod showed up weeks ago but no idea when that will go livev(Glasgow)

  25. James

    Is this narborough in Norfolk or not?

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