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ISP Zen Internet Launch 300Mbps G.fast UK Home Broadband Service

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 (9:37 am) - Score 10,711

Rochdale-based UK ISP Zen Internet has this week become the latest provider to launch a range of residential “ultrafast broadband” packages using hybrid fibre G.fast technology, which can offer average download speeds of 145Mbps (30Mbps upload) or 300Mbps (50Mbps upload).

The new Openreach (BT) based G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) technology works in a similar way to the existing 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) service. In this setup a fibre optic cable is run to your local PCP Street Cabinet, which is then fitted with an extension “pod” to house the new G.fast line cards. After that the service reaches your home via an existing copper cable.

At present only a small number of providers have introduced packages based off this technology (BT, TalkTalk, AAISP, Freeola, Cerberus Networks etc.), which is partly because it’s currently only available to more than 1.1 million UK premises. Zen also appear to be offering G.fast alongside their “full fibreFibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) products via a similar set of features and prices.

Each of Zen’s new packages come with truly unlimited usage, 12 month contract, a “FREE” AVM FRITZ!Box 3490 router, Static IP address, phone line rental (price fixed until 2020), UK-based support and a £55 one-off activation charge is also payable (managed engineer install). The ISP further pledges that your prices will be fixed for the full contract term.

Zen’s G.fast Products (Residential)

Unlimited Fibre 3 + line rental
Average Download 145Mbps
Average Upload 30Mbps

PRICE: £52 per month
PRICE (Excluding Line Rental): £42

Unlimited Fibre 4 + line rental
Average Download 300Mbps
Average Upload 50Mbps

PRICE: £59.99 per month
PRICE (Excluding Line Rental): £49.99

We should point out that Openreach’s current deployment plan envisages G.fast reaching a national UK coverage of around 5.7 million premises and FTTP delivering to 3 million premises, both by 2020, although their FTTP network could eventually reach 10 million by c.2025.

The biggest difficulty with G.fast is that you’ll only get the best speeds when within around a couple of hundred metres from your local PCP cabinet. The service is also known to have a fault threshold of 100Mbps and that’s not surprising because it’s being marketed as an “ultrafast broadband” technology (i.e. download speeds of greater than 100Mbps).

NOTE: If you choose to take the non-line rental G.fast package then you’ll still need to buy line rental from another provider as it’s a required part of the hybrid fibre connection.

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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.
Leave a Comment
24 Responses
  1. Paul W says:

    This is teasing me now. I can’t get any faster than 80meg a bobs.

    Openreach or anyone else, please come to my town for an upgrade!

    1. Salek says:

      This is also teasing me as well – we have had gfast pods for months in one of the unannounced areas (Rossendale) more specifically Edenfield, Haslingden, Accrington and some close by towns as well,

      Neither me or any of my family members in the above places can order yet,

    2. Marty says:

      Holding back maybe for the new chipset from sckipio or have yet to harness the 212mhz of spectrum before fully deploying more kit into the wild.

  2. openreach says:

    Far too expensive for openreach 145/30 @ £52 a month and 300/50 @ £59 a month as virgin media are much better deal with 380/21 @ £37 a month

    1. Paul W says:

      I would be happy with them prices. I currently pay £62 for 80meg with idnet.

    2. Lister says:

      A few differences, ignoring the completely different networks and routers aspect. Zen gives you a Static IP address (I think it’s IPv4 and v6) and the upload of 50Mbps is more than twice as fast. Virgin’s average advertised download is also 362Mbps not 380. The price on Virgin’s site for that tier is £42 a month for 12 months and then £57 thereafter or £50 standalone.

    3. Ian says:


      I got 3% of my advertised speed during the hours I used it.

      At maybe 3am it got close to 350mbps

      So more like maybe 5% of the time they reach their advertised speeds, at 3am in the morning, not *that* practical

  3. openreach says:

    @Lister with virgin media £37 a month (with discount) as virgin media 380/21 is a true throughput speed 24/7/365.

    1. New_Londoner says:

      Testing from Thinkbroadband clearly shows Virgin suffers from congestion during peaks so it isn’t correct to state that the speed is constant “24/7/365”.

    2. Bill Yeets says:

      “380/21 is a true throughput speed 24/7/365.”

      Ummm sweetie no

  4. openreach says:

    @New_Londoner Thinkbroadband speedtest are unfit for purpose. Speedtest.net are always spot on using virgin media speedtest while thinkbroadband speedtest are incorrect speed throughput. How can I tell? Because I have downloading file as it was spot on with 380Mbps down and 21Mbps up. Virgin Media support also telling me to use this site speedtest.net not thinkbroadband speedtest.

    1. New_Londoner says:

      I presume you’re aware that companies have previously been shown to game the Speedtest site? Coincidentally I see new results showing peak and off peak performance of the main ISPs was loaded on Thinkbroadband this morning. As expected, Virgin doesn’t do well compared to most other providers.

    2. Ixel says:

      Speedtest.net does multithreaded tests only, whereas TBB does both single thread and multithreaded speed tests. ISP’s with less reputation, which are throttling connections (or are perhaps a little congested), may not want you to see single threaded speed test results and so will point you to ‘speedtest.net’. That is why results may differ. TBB is fine for my connection, but I also know that I’m with a highly reputable ISP.

    3. CarlT says:

      Cool. Then you can stop fixating over your Openreach line’s DLM, availability or otherwise of FTTC and future availability of G.fast on your cabinet. Disabling the automated service you have monitoring the BT Wholesale checker on your cabinet would be a good start.

      As you’re so happy with your VM service now, have no need for FTTC and G.fast is so expensive / rubbish.

    4. James Ellis says:

      so you think that virgin media aren’t capable of prioritising traffic to speed test.net and traffic shaping everything else that goes through their network? try speedof.me

      I’ve also been on support calls and it’s taken me 4 or 5 transfers before some one even admitted I was having my “unlimited” connections speed restricted due to too much downloading….. their solution to getting off their “naughty” list…. don’t download so much and your service will return to normal…. total JOKE of a company.

    5. CarlT says:

      So you went through 4 or 5 people before you found someone who would agree with you?

      VM aren’t throttling you. They haven’t had any shaping on downloads for a while.

      More likely you’ve a fault slowing you at peak times – 95%+ of the network is now fine which of course means about 5% is not. Rather than looking for non-existent throttling for downloading too much better to try and get someone to check the utilisation in the area and raise a fault if it’s too high so that you can get some money refunded for poor service.

  5. Rob Broughall says:

    The prices aren’t similar to FTTP… (I have Zen FTTP, it’s on the whole, very very good – they’ve had some wobbles on the IPv6 side but that seems to have calmed down now), we have the 330/50 service at £75/month (which is still the advertised price for that service on their web site), would be great if the prices were reduced inline with the G.fast offerings – BT retail charge the same I believe for example.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The 145Mbps tier between G.fast and FTTP is closely matched, although you’re correct that there’s a bigger gap between the 300Mbps options.

    2. Rob Broughall says:

      Ah – fair point, I’d not clocked the slower service is the same price – apologies! Would be handy if they did drop the price on the 330 service to align them both.

  6. Dave Watson says:

    It’s about they modernised the email platform… instead of going superfast… Still providing POP emails not even moved up to IMAP years out of date….

    1. Bob says:

      Is it worth them investing in email upgrades? Do people really still use or care about ISP provided email? Gmail, outlook/hotmail and all the rest are better than anything an ISP offers and are free. Plus you don’t need to update everything when you switch providers.

  7. James ellis says:

    great….. now when can I get it and ditch s%#&y virgin…? 2020??…. no rush then….

  8. Brian CLARKE says:

    It would be brilliant to get over 4mb and no chance of any improvement, Open Reach just laugh at US!!

    1. New_Londoner says:

      If it’s important to you, what steps have you taken to get it sorted out? There are many providers, some of which will look at joint investment.

      A lot of people post complaints on here, few can be bothered to do anything themselves to sort it out, prefer waiting on others and moaning about it.

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