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Openreach Tweak Minimum Allowed G.fast Speed to 120Mbps

Friday, June 28th, 2019 (12:53 pm) - Score 8,818

In an interesting development Openreach (BT) has decided to change the “minimum selling rule” for their hybrid fibre G.fast broadband lines from 100Mbps to 120Mbps, which means that UK ISPs won’t be able to sell the service to customers unless their lines can achieve downloads of 120Mbps+.

According to the brief announcement, “The purpose of the change is to improve customer experience and create more certainty for CPs when selling lines at the edge of the network.” Previously the fault threshold for G.fast was set at 100Mbps (here), which also happens to be the start of Openreach’s definition for “ultrafast broadband” performance (plus it helps to maintain some separation with older FTTC / VDSL packages that max out at just under 80Mbps).

Over the past year we’ve seen a few reports from people who were estimated a line speed of just a shade over 100Mbps but ended up with something far slower once connected. The decision to shift the minimum selling rule higher is certainly one way to help ensure that all those who connect with G.fast can actually receive an “ultrafast” speed, although it may also reduce the number of consumers who can order it (hard to be sure how much, could be tens of thousands or well over 100K, depending upon your model).

At the last count Openreach had made their 330Mbps capable G.fast broadband service available to 2,020,000 UK premises and they aim to cover around 5.7 million premises by the end of 2020.

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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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31 Responses
  1. CarlT says:

    Smart move. Setting the limit at 100Mb when that’s the minimum was a bad idea. Some certainty by setting the limit here that services should come in above the 100Mb mark.

    Interestingly this’ll have an impact on the premises passed, however I really don’t think Openreach really care. They seem to be fulfilling their obligations to deploy the pods they’ve agreed to purchase then it’s off to Huawei / Nokia FTTP.

  2. Optical says:

    Prehaps they will tweak the 80Mbps up abit,say up to 100Mbps.

    1. Joe says:

      Technically that could happen but I doubt it. I imagine they like the speed gap for sales purposes.

  3. A_Builder says:

    Trouble is “the edge of the network” then becomes rather close to the PCP!

    Honestly GFast was such a strange thought process at a point in time where pure fibre had full traction. Wasted valuable time.

    At lot of the VDSL cabs would be perfectly capable of delivering this, and more, with only a change in line cards.

    The daft bit is that where GFast falls off to 120Mb/s (275m of perfect copper so a lot less IRL) then VDSL35 is still plugging away at about 800m at a pretty similar throughput. VDLS35 is a more robust and generalisable solution that GFast.


    Anyway Fibre First is a lot better idea without the ECI 330 nonsense.

    1. Billsy says:

      I have done around a dozen gfast installations and most of them exceed the 330mb cap, even at 275m. Slowest I have ever seen was 180mb and that was 350m from the cab. Had one at 200m that had a 511mb max speed.

    2. Ashley says:

      Nice! I am 100M if it ever gets there – would be good!

    3. A_Builder says:

      @ Billsy


      That would appear to exceed the published performance data on the Huawei pods that are being used by OR?

      Maybe there has been a hardware firmware upgrade that we don’t know about.

      I’m on a good 140m line length and I get a robust 285/48 and a couple of my neighbours get similar results.

      As that is spot on the published data curve I assumed that was the best I would get. Which is fine for my purposes.

      My understanding was that the 330 was never going to be hit due to the overhead in the same way that 80/20 is really 74/18.

      Or am I missing something here?

  4. Declan M says:

    Just get on with FTTP roll out Openreach than didling about with GFast roll out waste of time and money

  5. AnotherTim says:

    Does this mean that anyone currently with Gfast that is under 120Mbps won’t be able to change ISP?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I fear that is plausible. If I were in that boat and wanted to switch ISP then I may be inclined to discuss it with the gaining provider first, before opening an order.

    2. Joe says:

      Think I might want it in an e-mail not a voice over the phone.

    3. Joe says:

      I wonder how much Andrew’s post on TB explains a drivers on this change.

  6. oleg says:

    nobody talks about upload speed ?

    1. Thomas says:

      I know I want better upload without having to buy business broadband

    2. GNewton says:

      The limited upload speed of 30 or 50 mbps for G.Fast is indeed an issue which BT hasn’t addressed yet.

      If upload speed is important than you may have to find an altnet, which will often involve a local campaign to get enough users interested in your local community.

      If you run a small business you may have to change your work pattern, e.g. rent a VPS with a decent webhost, which will have sufficient upload speeds, too, and then keep all your projects on a VPS.

    3. CarlT says:

      Written like someone with no idea what they are talking about Mr Newton.

      We use cloud IaaS and SaaS services. People don’t rent VPS for business purposes because upload speed is low on the premises connection.

      How do you propose a business gets content to a VPS in the first place? Are you suggesting small businesses are using their local machines as basically dumb terminals and doing all their work on VMs hosted somewhere else?

      Large businesses may use something like Citrix ICA to deal with a large number of end user stations, I’m not aware of small businesses buying cloud services due to a lack of upload speed in any volume.

      50Mb+ upload is a bonus but 30Mb is perfectly fine for most SMEs.

  7. Silverback says:

    While it’s good and well boosting certain services, while promoting through the TV faster broadband, which is not true, they should get on with fazing out Copper wire, which they claim is fibre, especially in Rual Areas like mine which is also not true, we all know that copper wire is a metal based component. Anyway waiting with baited breath and hoping not to die before, it’s introduced to my Rual Area.

    1. ColinT says:

      I am stuck here in SW Wales with 2mb, when I moved in BT said I would have fibre by 2015 Autumn hahaha hahaha.

  8. Gary White says:

    BT are such an easy target to criticise as they sit on their big pile of cash and not invest in their future infrastructure.

    I have my many friends in and around London and the home counties who still cannot get fibre broadband. Even if they can get fibre broadband, it’s slow and does not provide adequate speed for a busy household.

    Mine has been stuck on 20Mbps for 9 years. In 9 years the world has moved forward with streaming entertainment, downloadable games, and now very soon streaming games which will be beyond my reach due to speed limitations.

    I think the government should be fining BT for every month they waste their customers time and continue to delay fibre deployment. If they had started Thier roll out 5 years ago they would be nearly completed now.

    Makes this country look a joke compared to other European, Asian and North American services.

    1. bob says:

      it isnt BT’s fault. thatchers conservative government stopped a full fibre rollout in the 90’s. and it would take more than 5 years to fibre the whole country. we were lucky to get a stopgap of fttc while we wait.

    2. GNewton says:

      Nobody has prevented BT from doing fibre for more than a decade now, this has nothing to do with ancient Thatcher history, but all to do with the incompetence of BT and others.

    3. TheFacts says:

      Why the concern about BT when others have been able to install telecomms for the last 30 years?

    4. Joe says:

      (sighs) Seriously Bob try looking up when T was in power and when the various decisions were made. Not that BT hasn’t been independent for 30 yrs now.

    5. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “Why the concern about BT ”

      Yes, indeed, why are you so concerned about your BT?

    6. AndyH says:

      @Gary White – BT isn’t sitting on vast amounts of cash.

      @GNewton – Why do you get your knickers in a twist every time TheFacts posts?

    7. CarlT says:

      Gary, that is complete and utter nonsense. BT may have been late to the game but to say they aren’t now investing is verifiably, provably wrong.


      Capital expenditure up on last year and increasing this year and next to accommodate FTTP build.

      As far as this pile of cash BT are allegedly sitting on goes that’s nonsense as well. In between financial year to April 2018 and financial year to April 2019 they borrowed about 1.4 billion – mostly to fund increased network investment and hardly the behaviour of a company swimming in cash.

    8. CarlT says:

      @AndyH – I really wish Mr Newton would just ask TheFacts out on a date and we can be done with this. The sexual tension gets tiresome after a while.

  9. elvis says:

    Glad this has happened i was told id get a minimum of 120Mb when i ordered G-Fast from BT retail it delivered 85-90Mb and upload was no better than it was on FTTC. Took nearly 2 months of arguing with them about to get it sorted out. They even tried to claim the speed was acceptable as it was just below the 100Mb limit. I was getting 78Mb on FTTC so G.Fast was of little use to me.

    After finally managing to get things cancelled entirely i am lucky enough to have Virgin in my area and have since been enjoying their 350Mb down 35Mb up broadband for £50 a month for my home connection which is cheaper and faster than i was paying for both FTTC and G.Fast from BT.

    Been able to also dump the phone line entirely now and just use my mobile and its call allowance for phone calls which saves me a bit more is nice.

    1. dee.jay says:

      Hi max!

  10. Richard says:

    I’m curious what proportion of the FTTC cabs the 5.7m target represents. If BT upgraded 100% of it’s 95% homes passed with FTTC cabs, then what would be the house count able to get GFast at these min speeds?

  11. Stuart Paterson says:

    Off topic but does anyone know if openreach would upgrade all cabinets in a gfast exchange area to gfast? My exchange has gfast cabinets in some areas but according to the fibre checker on openreach website it shows no plans to upgrade my cabinet anytime soon.

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