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Boris Johnson Splurges £5bn on UK 2025 Gigabit Broadband Target UPDATE3

Sunday, September 29th, 2019 (8:55 am) - Score 7,535
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The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, is this week expected to commit £5bn of public funding in order to support his seemingly now watered down ambition to have “Gigabit broadband sprouting in every home” by the end of 2025 (full fibre, cable broadband, 5G etc.).

According to the Telegraph‘s (paywall) many sources, Boris could announce the investment as part of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week and the funding will be targeted at the most remote rural areas (i.e. an outside-in approach to deployment). The same sources also cautioned that the date of this announcement had not yet been set in stone and could change.

We were originally expecting a pile of new public funding to be unveiled as part of the imminent National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS), although given the current political climate and the fact that all of the parties seem to be gearing up for a snap 2019 General Election before Christmas (due to the on-going Brexit chaos), then such plans may well have changed.

The proposed level of investment is consistent with the upper end of a prediction in last year’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), which stated that the final c.20% of the country is “likely to require bespoke solutions to ensure rollout of networks.” The FTIR added that nationwide availability of full fibre (FTTP) would require “additional funding” of around £3bn to £5bn to support commercial investment in the final c.10% of areas, although that was for the original 2033 completion aspiration and not Boris’s 2025.

However we reported two weeks ago that the Government appears to have watered down Boris’s original “full fibre” for all ambition to adopt “Gigabit-capable” language instead (here); this allows him to include hybrid fibre networks like Virgin Media and also 5G mobile. At present some 9% of premises can access full fibre but if you change the language to “gigabit” then, allowing for Virgin Media’s 1Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade (here), you’d probably be able to say around 55% with just the click of your fingers. The gap is quickly made much smaller.

The above target is thus more plausible than the old one but there still isn’t a magic fix for tackling the final 40-50% of premises in the space of just 5 years (mix of urban and rural, albeit slower to reach and more expensive). You have to allow time for the usual legislative changes, consultations, more consultations, Open Market Reviews (OMR), local procurements and then engineering surveys before work can even begin. This can take up to 2 years or more, much as it did with the original BDUK framework.

As such Boris will need to pull a pretty big rabbit from his hat and we’re keen to see what that looks like. On the other hand it raises the question of when we can now expect every home to get access to a full fibre service or if that aspect has now been totally abandoned too (a report last week suggested that this target might be pushed back by a few years beyond 2025, albeit perhaps not all the way back to 2033).

Likewise there will still be a question mark over which operators can deliver for the new investment, since the rush to hit 2025 means that there aren’t currently many Gigabit-capable broadband builders with an ability to deploy at such a huge scale in remote rural areas (not without significant risk – the Gigaclear example shows precisely what happens when smaller fish try to scale-up too far, too quickly). Not forgetting the issue of engineer shortages – many more will be needed and in a short space of time, but operator’s often won’t fully invest in that until after contracts are secured.

The aforementioned situation means that BT (Openreach), and possibly Virgin Media’s proposed alternative network ISP spin-off (here and here), are likely to be seen as the primary contenders for such contracts. No doubt they’ll use that as a bargaining chip, although it may also raise competition issues (e.g. crowding out a fledgling but growing market of smaller full fibre ISPs and potentially being perceived as enabling BT to rebuild its monopoly).

The heavily regulated Openreach has also previously called for rival full fibre networks to open up access to their infrastructure (i.e. sharing access to help focus on improving coverage), which is arguably akin to asking their already smaller rivals to further weaken their position (i.e. altnets may see going open access as a devaluation of the investment they’ve made and often privately, without state aid support like BT). Getting ISPs to agree on such things is often akin to herding angry cats.

As ever the devil will be in the detail and the fog of a looming General Election tends to cloud the rays of pragmatic reality with big, albeit not always deliverable, promises. On the bright side it’ll be lovely to see political parties doing battle over who can commit the most to making national Gigabit-capable or full fibre broadband a reality.

Meanwhile consumers may be less concerned about how Gigabit speeds reach them, just so long as those speeds are actually possible.

UPDATE 30th September 2019 – 7:31am

The £5bn pledge has been confirmed, although we’ve tweaked the language above a little because this funding is now also said to include 5G mobile services, alongside full fibre and Virgin Media’s coax, under the “gigabit-capable” box. Nicky Morgan MP said: “We want everyone in the UK to benefit from world-class gigabit connectivity no matter where they live or work, so today @Conservatives are announcing £5bn to ensure our rural communities benefit too.”

The inclusion of 5G is a tricky one because mobile broadband performance is highly variable and while some may eventually get 1Gbps or more, others on 5G won’t even come close.. at not least for awhile (e.g. particularly those in rural areas where lower frequency mobile bands tend to be more common due to the focus on maximising coverage).

Sajid Javid MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will say:

“Investment in our infrastructure will be key to making the next decade one of renewal – boosting our economy and making life easier for people all across the country.

This new multi-billion pound investment to deliver gigabit-capable broadband for all the UK and investment in roads and buses will help people to get around and businesses to grow, ensuring no community is left behind.

This will make the UK a better place to live and work, extending opportunity and raising living standards for all.”

Apparently the new funding will be used to help those in the final 20% of premises, rather than just the final 10%. The proposed £5bn is all new money, which means that it is in addition to the existing investments for full fibre (no mention of if this includes existing 5G investment). “This is in addition to the £650 million we have already invested in fibre rollout in the three years to 2021, where we are prioritising rural areas,” added Nicky Morgan.

UPDATE 30th Sept – 4:11pm

We’ve had a few responses from other organisations to this news.

A Spokesperson for the ISPA said:

“Sajid Javid’s announcement of £5bn for the rollout of full fibre and gigabit capable broadband is welcomed. We agree with its focus on targeting rural areas as a priority, but the calculation for this £5bn of funding was estimated using the 2033 target, not the updated 2025 ambition.

Considering this level of funding has not taken into account the new 2025 ambition, this puts an even stronger emphasis for the Government to now combine this funding with urgent regulatory reform to the sector. This increased funding can be spent far more efficiently if the Government also considered immediate reform to the fibre tax and to bring in wayleaves legislation. Without these regulatory changes there will still be the same barriers that are already preventing industry from accelerating the rollout of full fibre and gigabit capable broadband.”

Tim Breitmeyer, President of the Country Land and Business Association, said:

“Better connectivity is key to unleashing the economic potential of the countryside, and we welcome that Government is listening to the concerns of rural communities.

Ending the rural/urban digital divide will support rural businesses to create jobs, enable people to access services, allow agriculture to embrace the technological revolution and persuade more tourists to visit. What’s needed now is for the ambitions of this announcement to be matched by detailed and technical work with broadband providers and mobile operators to turn this into a reality, but we are on the verge of overcoming one of the largest barriers to the rural economy becoming an engine for growth and productivity.”

Truespeed CEO, Evan Wienburg, said:

“This afternoon at the Conservative Party Conference Chancellor Sajid Javid talked about kick-starting an infrastructure revolution and announced an extra £5bn for accelerating gigabit broadband deployments in the hardest to reach rural areas.

Of course we welcome this public investment in the UK’s critical digital infrastructure. But the devil is in the detail: we need to understand just where and how the £5bn is going to be spent.

We’re hoping it’s going to support a wide range of mechanisms and processes to support what this country needs. The initiative must protect the independent providers that are working to connect previously ignored areas – and must not encourage wasteful overbuilding.

We urge the government to move quickly to avoid the UK slipping even further behind other Western European nations in gigabit broadband roll-outs.”

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“We welcome the funding announced today for full fibre rollout in the most rural 20% of the UK. CityFibre, with a commitment to build full fibre to 5m properties by 2025, shares the Chancellor’s aim of levelling up the country as part of an infrastructure revolution.

It’s vital the whole of the UK benefits from transformative connectivity and no-one is left behind. To do this we must maximise coverage by minimising duplication. This is where the Government can play a vital role, helping industry to be as transparent as possible about build plans, and by ensuring access to Openreach’s ducts and poles is fit for purpose.”

Richard Tang, Zen Founder & Chairman, said:

“The Government set out its ambitious plans to connect Britain to full fibre broadband by 2025 earlier this year, and the £5bn investment will go a long way to help drive connectivity and productivity in Britain.

Now it is time to turn policy into action. The Government must deliver on its intentions and pave the way for world-leading connectivity – addressing the taxation of fibre cables, the ease of laying infrastructure and tackling a national skills shortage. These are critical ingredients for the success of the UK economy in an era where fast, reliable, robust connectivity is an absolute must.”

Separately we understand that any new investments and delivery plans through the £5bn will be expected to align with ongoing work, such as the contracts being delivered through the Superfast Programme, projects across the Devolved Nations (R100 in Scotland, Project Stratum in N.Ireland and Superfast Cymru in Wales) as well as the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme (RGC) etc.

We did ask DCMS what all this meant for the original full fibre specific rollout time-scale and they could only respond by talking about gigabit-capable again, which didn’t answer our question. However it’s fair to say that in some areas there may be instances where the geographical challenges are so great that providing gigabit-connectivity through alternative solutions (e.g. wireless) is the only way to do it.

UPDATE 2nd October 2019

Clearly not everybody in Government, which seems to have confused some of its own ministers with the recent change in language, is on message yet about the adoption of “gigabit-capable” broadband over “full fibre“. Yesterday the Conservative MP, Simon Clarke, responded to a broadband centric question about small business connectivity by re-stating the old pledge.

Simon Clarke MP said:

“My right hon. Friend is of course absolutely right that broadband connectivity lies at the heart of a modern economy. It was so welcome to hear my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday set out how £5 billion of investment is going to be devoted to making sure that we can deliver on the Prime Minister’s pledge to ensure full fibre broadband access by 2025.”

Meanwhile the Chancellor, Sajid Javid MP, appeared to agree with a suggestion that the funding should be distributed to local authorities rather than central Government’s (Scotland, Wales etc.) in order to reduce delays with its use. “The investment that I announced yesterday is hugely important for the entire country, including Scotland. My hon. Friend is right to point to the abysmal record of the Scottish Government in delivering broadband for their people, so we should certainly look at whether there is a much better way to deliver it,” said Sajid.

Elsewhere we’ve had a comment from Hyperoptic.

Dana Tobak CBE, MD & CEO of Hyperoptic, said:

“We welcome the Government’s ambitions for full-fibre connectivity. Addressing the digital divide is important for individuals, business and the UK economy. With so much of the UK still in a fibre desert, we agree with Government’s approach to locate it’s spending in the most remote areas, while private investors compete in the vast majority of the market.

Over the last eight years we have been investing in growing our own 1Gbps network, which is set to reach five million homes by 2024 and we look forward to sharing our learnings with the government on the skills, investment and deployment conditions required to support the roll-out of fibre networks at scale in the UK.

We firmly believe in the importance of symmetrical speeds with upload and downloads being equally important and look forward to continue leading the charge to Gigabit Britain.”

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Mark Jackson
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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77 Responses
  1. Avatar f

    TYPO Title says 2015

  2. Avatar DontMakeMeLaugh

    It really doesn’t matter if the UK gets 100% full fibre or gigabit capable by 2025, the main thing is that those on crap broadband see a significant improvement.

    You can talk about watering down his words but at least he is trying to improve broadband which is more than any other PM or political party has offered to date. Lets get off his back and see what happens.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      As you rightly say the conversation is happily not “who needs gigabit” to the acceptance that gigabit is what dailies will need by 2025.

      With domestic data growth rates of 40% per annum and peak usage stretching FTTC to the limits in houses with kids reality has happily reared its head.

      I’d be very against subsidising VM’s network upgrade unless the whole thing was engineered away from it present format to a point-to-point or PON network that was properly open access wholesale. I’m also adamant that upstream is as important as downstream in our cloudy world.

      I sort of see the point of OR’s cross wholesale argument as this would reduce overbuild and speed rollout. But equally I see the Alt Net point ‘why should we?’

      But at the end of the day the end goal, gig for all, is agreed by all stakeholders so what is the fastest way of getting there given the human resource limits that are real.

    • Avatar apolloa

      True but it’s also an incredible waste of public money. Why waste 5 billion of tax payers money in something that’s incapable of being future proof! Because it’ll cost most likely 10 billion or more to upgrade it again in 10 years.
      They need to just bite the bullet, ditch HS2 and any other crazy projects they have, and spend the money on fibre to the door, existing railways, roads, other infrastructure. Boris was happy to announce 40 billion for lots of new hospitals today.
      How about future proofing the UK’s telecommunications services and no, 5G is not the answer to that.

    • Avatar John

      Who suggested wasting a penny on something that can’t be future proofed, never mind £5 Billion.

      They changed from “full fibre” to “gigabit” as it would include much of Virgins existing coax/hfc network.
      That doesn’t cost £5 Billion, it’s already there.

      Virgins current rollout although DOCSIS based, it is full fibre, RFOG.
      It is very much future proofed.

      I can’t see much public money going in to them expanding coax so don’t worry about it.

    • Avatar apolloa

      Sorry it was 13 billion pounds announced for 40 new hospitals.

    • Avatar John

      Forgive me if I don’t join you in “getting off Boris’s back”. He has a proven track record of promising the impossible, seemingly believing that all he has to do is to shout something loudly enough and it happens. He consistently lies (or “sandpapers the truth”) and we believe it. Right now he may be the shortest-termed PM ever, so promises he won’t have to keep come easy. Doubtless the promise of stacks of bandwidth for gaming will be hailed as a Brexit dividend, while ignoring the dire warnings from planning papers (e,g, Yellowhammer) produced by his own government. We’ll see…

  3. Avatar Chris

    Far better to remove the access technology from the requirement, especially when most consumers will immediately connect their circuit to wifi.

    Most people couldn’t care less if it’s delivered over a cable or radio or radio over a glass cable, it just needs to work especially in that 1 room of the house that has really poor wifi.

    • Avatar FibreBob

      Er no, that is not BT’s, Virgin’s or any other providers job. You can get some competent IT help and solve this problem yourself.

      But if you do not have a robust connection upto your premises, all your faffing around will be of no use.

      Fibre is generally the best way to deliver a solid future proofed connection, although I am sure for a minority of areas some other technology would be more suitable.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Personally I don’t think the WiFi debate has any place here.

      This is about delivery to premises not throughout premises.

      I agree we should agnostic on technology BUT we don’t need more VDSL Gfast dead ends and anything asymmetric is a dead duck.

    • Avatar Mike

      In most cases of poor wifi the error code is ID10T.

  4. Avatar MartinConf

    I am amazed at how many people don’t seem to understand the difference between WiFi and broadband connectivity.

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      It’s no different to people not knowing the difference between the Internet and FaceBook/Twitter/Instagram. Back in the ’90s Internet users were quite knowledgeable about technology, but I’m an ancient one rambling about the good old times.

  5. Avatar FastForward

    Johnson will promise much before a General Election but will deliver little, based on past performance (London Mayor, Vote Leave, Foreign Secretary).

    • Avatar DontMakeMeLaugh

      You’re talking rubbish just like the opposition.

    • Avatar Sally

      Yes.. A conservative Mayor who had the lowest knife crime figures in history due to his agressive use of Stop and Search vs a Labour lovvie who was too pussy to do so – result? 132 murders so far this year most if not all knife related.

      I know which one I will be voting for – and it won’t be the red ones!

    • Avatar beany

      Yep also almost halfed the amount of road traffic fatalities during his time as London mayor. 208 in 2008 when he started and 116 in 2016 when he finished.

      The lefts communist comments here get funnier by the day.

    • Avatar Terrence Morgan

      More lies from Jonhson. A very nasty piece of work.

    • Avatar dummy

      Unless you have a time machine you have no idea if what he is promising is lies.

    • Avatar John

      Dummy… but past performance is a guide…

    • Avatar dummy

      Past performance is a guide and his past performance as mayor stacks up good to others.

  6. Avatar Fred

    Piflewifle. Johnson will offer the moon on a stick if he thinks it will help him remain as PM. In reality his supposed target is totally unachievable. Johnson has a long record of over promising and under achieving.

    Still, I would agree that gigabit Internet for everybody should be pursued – but realistically it is going to take much longer to get there. A future proof technology is obviously preferable and I don’t believe most people need gigabit today – predicting bandwidth needs in the future is a bit of a mugs game though.

    C

    • Avatar Jonathan

      Predicting future bandwidth usage is easy, needs to be at least 1Gbps in the mid term. Basically if you lay fibre optic cable to the premises, it can be repurposed down the line with different optics either end for more speed. Unless you believe in superluminal communication (which makes you a nutter) fibre optic cable is as good as it gets.

    • Avatar beany

      “Johnson will offer the moon on a stick”

      Corbyn seems confused which end of the stick to grasp. Leave… Remain… Leave… Remain… Election… No Election… Errrmmm… Ahhhhh

      Good luck in your hopes of him winning.

    • Avatar Fred

      @Beany

      What on earth makes you think I want Corbyn as PM? You have put 2 + 2 together and ended up with 5.

    • Avatar Fred

      @Johnathan

      Agreed that gigabit+ is the way to go but I don’t agree with the Boris timeline or the priority. The focus should be on fixing those communities with poorest internet first. You use ‘mid term’ which is quite broad – is that 2025 or some other date?

      2025 isn’t realistic – there are not enough engineers and contractors even if there was the money.

      As for predicting future Internet usage, I do believe it is really tricky, still future proofing has got to be the aim. But seeing as you have a handle on it, what do you think, will a household need 500Mbps, 1gig, 5gig, 50gig in 15 years time? How much use will there be of cloud computing (posibly one of the biggest factors in influencing how much bandwidth properties need)? Even the experts struggle to predict the demand for technologies like 5g – people don’t even understand what applications are going to be important?

      All the waffle about smart fridges – people are just guessing at the moment.

      My hunch is that broadband bandwidth demand will be on the lower end of expectations. I also expect 5G will not be as pivotal to everyday life as some are predicting – sure, there will be mass take-up but I don’t believe the mass Internet of Things is going to come as quickly as predicted – cars and smart meters, sure, but smart everything else, not so sure. I also believe there will be a higher reliance on cloud services which will have an impact. The focus of providers will continue to move towards services rather than dumb pipes.

      Personally I believe there should be more focus on providing the tools to enable more people to home work. Obviously that is not possible for all jobs. I home work and can easily do that with my 45Mbps broadband but I redilly accept 45Mbps is too slow for many households.

      Thing is I can’t predict the future.

    • Avatar Jonathan

      @Fred

      Medium term is 5-10 years. Even then some people though mostly businesses will need more than 1Gbps.

      However predicting future internet bandwidth requirements is easy. At no point since the invention of computer networks have bandwidth requirements not increased year on year. Heck at work we put in 40Gbps less than two years ago for our supercomputer. We are looking to upgrade to 100Gbps later this year…

      So given the very long lead times to get everything fibred up starting now with a future proof solution is the only way to go.

  7. Avatar Rahul

    This is all a political stunt because Boris knows he is failing to deliver on his Brexit promise. This is a hint that there will be a snap General Election and if Brexit cannot be delivered in a timely manner then “let’s promise the people Full Fibre for all, so you all can vote for me!” Good trick, but I will not fall for it!

    By the way, I have just found out over the last few days that my Exchange Only Line (after 10+ years of waiting) here in Central London has now been connected to a new cabinet! “Exchange BISHOPSGATE is served by Cabinet 20.” This is followed by a coincidental series of unusual internet disconnections last Thursday which made me suspicious some works are being done. This suddenly started displaying in the BT BROADBAND AVAILABILITY CHECKER.

    WBC FTTC Availability Date Planned with estimated download speeds.
    High Low High Low
    VDSL Range A (Clean) 80 68.2 20 19 62.1
    VDSL Range B (Impacted) 80 64.8 20 19 56.6

    What does this actually suggest? This gives me hints that Openreach has no plan or ambition to upgrade me with FTTP anytime soon because if that was the case they would not invest in connecting my EO Line to a new cabinet! This new cabinet and FTTC means that Full Fibre will not happen by 2025 (at least not from Openreach). Relying solely on Altnet providers will not help deliver Full Fibre for the entire country by 2025 or 2033.

    • Avatar DontMakeMeLaugh

      You may or may not get FTTP by 2025 but the fact your EO line is being connected to FTTC outside your local exchange is no indication as the work will have been planned for at least a year and the current PM hasn’t been in his job that long.

    • Avatar Fastman

      Rahul

      as ever you miss the fundamental issue you would have FTTP if your building had agreed to have your provider of choice (which is not openreach fault) and even had Openreach fibre the whole of London with FTTP you would not have it as your landlord wont allow access to your building

      why would Openreach even think about deploying more FTTC in London where massive copper rearrangement would need to take place and siginficant additional street furniture required

    • Avatar NGA for all

      Fastman, if Openreach could not even think about deploying more FTTC, why did BT group approve of a plan where BDUK will have paid for about 2000-3000 of copper re-arrangements in Town centes? Ditto for Business Parks c1,200 more, where duct was available to complete full fibre, where no power or street electronics were needed?

      By the way it is good that it appears the resources are available to reach 99% superfast if the will is there to do the work.

    • Avatar Rahul

      @DontMakeMeLaugh: Hence why I wouldn’t be excited if I get FTTC now, it’s too little too late. I would be of-course satisfied and perhaps pleased, but definitely not excited anymore. Well even if FTTC comes within a year, that street furniture being installed would mean that Openreach will want to have that investment worthwhile for at least another 5-10 years before upgrading to FTTP. It wouldn’t make economical sense to install a new cabinet and then upgrade to FTTP shortly afterwards. This is why I would be slightly disappointed to get FTTC soon because it will mean that new cabinet will be there to stay for a good number of years more.

      The fact that Openreach now connected my EO Line to Cabinet 20 indicates their motive to upgrade my line to FTTC otherwise why would they have done that?

      @Fastman: 4 out of 10 residential blocks in urban areas suffer from wayleave agreement issues. It is not an exclusive problem with my management only as I have 2 other properties that also suffer from permission issues but under Tower Hamlets Homes.

      Fortunately or unfortunately I am still seeing a good number of works in https://one.network/
      “DSLAM STREET CABINET & POWER INSTALLATION. Excavate to lay BT ducts, Lay concrete plinth, Stand cab. Excavate to expose low voltage cable for Power Connection and lay duct. POWER engineer to carry out inspection prior to jointing. POWER jointing team to insert cable and execute jointing works. Reinstate, Check and clear site.”

      Including another one in my street. Another block next to mine under same management team, different postcode that was EO Line has also now been showing up as connected to Cabinet 27!

      I know wayleave agreement is an issue and maybe FTTC would be better than nothing. But the point is this issue is not going to be resolved for the entire country by 2025! The FTTC upgrade for the last remaining EO Lines may mean also the last to get upgraded to FTTP which would be sad. I wanted to see EO Lines upgraded to FTTP not FTTC after so many years of waiting! Altnet providers will be our best bet barring wayleave agreement issues. But even then, new legislative powers need to be implemented to resolve agreement issues.

    • Avatar Fastman

      NGA I mentioned London (specifically) as I would expect FTTC to tail off doue to fibre cities

      why would Openreach even think about deploying more FTTC in London where massive copper rearrangement would need to take place and siginficant additional street furniture required

      NGA you obviously did not read what I had posted – my view was specifically about London

    • Avatar Brian

      Anyone on 4Mbps would appreciate FTTC, any improvement would be good after 10 years of empty promises

    • Avatar Nga for all

      @Eastman. There cannot be London only rules. The question still needs answering. Please.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @NGA – link to details of ‘why did BT group approve of a plan where BDUK will have paid for about 2000-3000 of copper re-arrangements in Town centes’ please.

    • Avatar Rahul

      Breaking News: Great news. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) is now available to millions of UK homes and businesses – including yours.

      Address …………. LONDON, E1 6DJ on Exchange BISHOPSGATE is served by Cabinet 20
      Featured Products

      Downstream Line Rate(Mbps)

      Upstream Line Rate(Mbps)

      Downstream Handback Threshold(Mbps)

      WBC FTTC Availability Date

      WBC SOGEA Availability Date

      High Low High Low
      VDSL Range A (Clean) 80 68.2 20 19 62.1 Available —
      VDSL Range B (Impacted) 80 64.8 20 19 56.6 Available —

      It has happened earlier today despite the heavy rain!

      So @Fastman: Your prediction was incorrect!!! I told you it was coming, you didn’t believe me, saying that Openreach won’t be installing extra street furniture! Openreach want to retire old ADSL packages, so it makes sense that for the last 2% without FTTC they don’t have to do a lot more work to get to 100% FTTC coverage.

      Now I just need to wait till January for my contract with Plusnet ADSL package to end before switching to a new FTTC package and see what kind of service I will get. Hopefully around 60 Mbps would be good. Need to find out where Cabinet 20 is located!

    • Avatar A voice of reason

      @Rahul have a look on Old Montague Street at the end of Frostic Walk. About 350m away so should be reasonable speeds. Give Plusnet a call, you might be able to move to a FTTC package with them before the end of your ADSL one if your happy to extend your contract.

    • Avatar Rahul

      @A voice of reason: Many thanks, you’re right it is in the beginning of Old Montague Street road across Clarke & Lloyds. Just visited it earlier today, the cabinet is in fact on google maps and I saw it was number 20 when I went there to check. Total 321.869 miles to my home.

      High Low
      VDSL Range A (Clean) 80 68.2
      VDSL Range B (Impacted) 80 64.8

      Do you think I will get 68 Mbps as shown in the availability checker? Also I’m worried that with a 322 meters or so copper cable length my internet might still not be stable. What if the internet drops out and the line cannot cope with such speed?

      Do you think I will be able to quit the ISP penalty free? I’m more positive about the 35 Mbps package.

      But I’m aware it is not about just getting the speed, if noise margin drops and disconnects DLM will re-sync to a lower speed and the speed may get to something below the lowest estimate.

      I’m still with Plusnet ADSL and already paid year upfront in advance on January. I have until January 2020.
      For example with ADSL I got once 18.07 Mbps in speed test but at 3dB noise margin. Line could never maintain stability! Only at 12 Mbps ~ 9dB noise margin my connection is stable. This has always been my headache, that’s why I am worried that FTTC may carry on the same problems if cabinet is not so close to my building…

    • Avatar A voice of reason

      @Rahul at the moment as there are no working VDSL ccts on the DSLAM then the speeds are being worked out based on the distance to the DP and the gauge of wire used. This is quite accurate, especially over shorter distances like yours. As working customers build up and their sync rates are seen then each DPs speed profile will be further refined using these actuals. You were about 1km from the exchange so remember the VDSL signal is not coming down a big chunk of that route so hopefully your noise numbers will be a lot better. Your internal wiring can make a big difference, so where possible don’t have any extension wiring connected just the master socket. (I disconnected my extensions years ago and went with a cordless) I’d also recommend a faceplate with built in filter https://www.run-it-direct.co.uk/adsl-vdsl-faceplates/mk4btopenreachvdslsocket/ if you have an engineer install they may fit one anyway.

    • Avatar Rahul

      @A voice of reason: Many thanks, you seem to be quite right!

      I have done some extensive calculations using google maps. Turns out that from the cabinet to the entrance of my building is exactly 278 meters. While the height of my building is 62 meters.

      To add 278+62=340 meters at the top roof of the building. Half way and I am probably around the 320 meter mark. I should be getting around 70-75 Mbps roughly. Hopefully the worst case scenario is if noise margin increases as a result of DLM then hopefully it should stabilise between 60-65 Mbps worst case scenario. But obviously if 64-68 Mbps is the lowest estimate but at e.g lower noise margins like 3.0 dB then it will be disastrous. If it is at 6-9 dB then it will give more room for stability and speed.

      The Bishopsgate Telephone Exchange, 20 Jerome St, Spitalfields, London E1 6NJ shows as 643.738 meters to my building on google maps. But if I include the cabinet location 46 Frostic Walk, Shadwell, London E1 5LT then this totals 0.6 mile 965.606 meters. That equates to 1km distance and if this is the amount of copper travelling that might indeed be the reason why on ADSL my line can’t cope with 3 dB.

      But hopefully now from cabinet to home will only be roughly 320 meters of copper. A 600+ meter reduction of copper length should naturally reduce noise on the line and the connection should no longer drop out at the higher speeds.

      Although I admit that from the intrusion point there is a few meters of extra cabling going on to the master socket from front door to my bedroom. My internal wiring was once checked from a Sky Engineer who said it was all fine 2 years ago.

      I don’t know if a few meters of extra cable has any negative impact on line. Of-course after ordering FTTC, I will see if naturally the problem resolves by itself. If it doesn’t then I’ll look into rewiring the cables to shorten them.

  8. Avatar Simon Hayter

    It’s a disgrace that our Government is funding private companies to reach gigabit speeds, the money initially proposed was to complete overhaul the way we connect to the internet, not using copper.

    A single high quality optical cable is able to achieve more than 40 gbit/s and more with emerging technologies, but its not just about download speed. Fiber decreases latency and is not only inherently but more reliable. Fibre optic cables are non-metallic… they transmit signals using pulses of light in glass threads! As a result, they are immune to Electro-Magnetic Interference and Radio Frequency Interference. In other terms, the integrity of signals is not affected by electrical noise in the environment.

    Copper is unreliable, and often, if you have ever had a fault with your broadband, its usually caused by Noise (dBI) or SNR.

    Also, VDSL2, G.FAST, and DOCSIS 3.1 is not not symmetrical, and therefore you will a much lower upload rate, it also means, you competing for bandwidth with your neighbors.

    COPPER IS DEAD
    FIBER IS THE FUTURE.

    • Avatar DontMakeMeLaugh

      @Simon Hayter

      Yes the world has changed since copper cables were originally installed to provide voice only services in our homes all those years ago, those copper cables have done an amazing job to get us here today and we shouldn’t forget that. The future is fibre (not fiber) but lets not put two fingers up to copper.

    • Avatar John

      Except that copper can be symmetrical if the band blans are configured so.

      You also say fibre is symmetrical but the majority of FTTP being installed is GPON which isn’t symmetrical at all.

      I’m in agreement that fibre is the answer but fibre isn’t the answer because it’s symmetrical.
      It isn’t necessarily symmetrical.

      The increased bandwidth is why it is the answer.

      You will still be constrained by deployment method and products sold by the supplier regardless of copper/fibre.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Adding to John’s comments, having gigabit capable fibre is all very well, but if the ISP you buy service from doesn’t have sufficient backhaul bandwidth, your actual throughput will be substantially less. If you’re expecting multi-gigabit speeds for a few pounds a month, prepare to be disappointed as this will not be sufficient to pay for the backhaul.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Yes basic GPON is not symmetrical but there are other very good products from ADTRAN and others that are.

      It is then less of a project to run multi frequency fibre backhaul and create a virtual point-to-point network at a later date.

      The key thing is to get the fibre from home to PON, after that upgrading is always possible.

      Some of the Alt Nets do build point to point.

  9. Avatar FibreBubble

    Don’t see any good reason why the government should be spending 5 billion on providing gigabit speeds to residential customers.

    Why do residential customers need gigabit services anyway?

    • Avatar beany

      “Why do residential customers need gigabit services anyway?”

      You are right we do not, tell BT to stop their FTTP rollout see the 2/3rds of the country that will not get it no longer have to fund their roll out also.

    • Avatar Mike

      Same people said that about ADSL, then FTTC and now FTTP.

      Some people never learn…

    • Avatar GucciGang

      Because it’s an empty promise, I trust Boris as far as I can throw the fat lump

    • Avatar Brian

      To give a decent service to ADSL only premises, FTTP is needed as FTTC won’t cut it at any decent distance.

    • Avatar salek

      sure lets all fall behind rest of the world – this is also about global level playing field

    • Avatar dummy

      Lets all vote for a red state of nationalisation of every service, more debt and broadband speeds the same single digits as the IQs that support it.

    • Avatar dee.jay

      Netflix, YouTube, game downloads, these are a few of the reasons why we *NEED* 1Gbit internet connections. More to the point, FTTP rids us of the issues of long lines, crosstalk, etc.

      I don’t think you really understand the demands that even the average household is now making on telecoms infrastructure.

  10. Avatar David

    My rural connection of 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up would be appreciative of an upgrade. Outside in approach seems like a good move. As it has been said early on, people would be happier with improvements to their current connections. 1GBps connections are, right now at least somewhat overkill for residential. But future proofing has got to be in the front of any build.

  11. Avatar FIBRE FOR ALL

    BRING IT ON. FIBRE FOR ALL. OPENREACH MUST SCRAP ALL COPPER BY 2025

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      You’d better hope that it doesn’t as there will not be nationwide FTTP by 2025 despite promises to the contrary by Boris. Politicians making false promises, I’m shocked!

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      If you literally scrap all copper by 2025 then half the country won’t have any internet at all.

  12. Avatar Meadmodj

    Just an election promise. Even if it comes the £5bn is for rural only (6m premises?) and probably equates to the Superfast BDUK areas and there is a hint it is not all new money. Some will be diverted to 4G/5G and LFFN type funding (some of which has gone to towns and cities that already have Fibre back haul, hardly rural).

    VM and Altnets are proposing to fight over the same 15 million with pockets left out of their coverage plans.

    That leaves 10m premises with no plan in sight.

    So the Government/Ofcom are going to have to do a lot more to encourage full Giga coverage than £5bn. Perhaps their definition of Giga capability is the theoretical availability at 3.00 am in the morning once a year.

    Asymmetric remains the cheapest and efficient although ratios will improve overtime to say 1:4. Symmetrical will available at a premium via business products. Cost by Mbps may reduce but don’t expect Broadband subscriptions to come down the trend will inevitably be up.

    We are unlikely to get any real detail until next year.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @Meadmodj

      A good chuck of the country is commercially viable.

      “owns and cities that already have Fibre back haul”

      If you engage a bit of reverse thinking -bear with me you do get to an interesting place with this.

      For FTTC to work at all then you need to be within about 4km of the DSLAM.

      Think about what that means given that 90+ % of the population can get SuperFast speeds mainly from FTTC.

      Therefore fibre backhaul penetration is actually already very deep.

      To fully reverse the logic – 90%+ of the population are within 4km of fibre backhaul.

      The problem is getting OR to open up the use of the FTTC backhaul to other purposes. And yes we have hand endless arguments on here about how the fibre location cabs etc make no sense for a blank-piece-of-paper design. And indeed they do not. However, that is not where UK PLC is, it is an incremental build out from existing assets of which FTTC backhaul is a significant part.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      What does ‘open up the use of the FTTC backhaul’ really mean? A provider just needs to order a circuit, no problem.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @A_Builder. I am sure they do have spare FTTC fibre capacity but I doubt it has been provided with consistency or has the future capacity needed. As most subscribers will be glad to move to the resilient FTTP they are likely to subscribe to the lower speed products so it is an option allowing OR taking a two stage approach by rolling out FTTP from a FTTC fibre and then providing additional capacity after. But I presume the FTTC fibres run to the FTTC cabinet which long term will be recovered and possibly to certain racking within the exchange. It might be simpler to just run out a new multi-fibre cable for rollouts connected to the latest OLTs and only use FTTC fibres as expedients.

      The key commercial issue I see for OR is the ability to convert (regardless of ISP) Telephony, ADSL and FTTC as they roll out FTTP and BT’s timescales to close the PSTN.

      Lots of people on here have faith in the Altnets but they currently focus their investments and only provide partial coverage where they do. The commercial viability appears to fall off quite quickly even in urban.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      And actually the not share using the FTTC fibre makes a mockery of OR’s “One Network” plan.

      One networks is supposed to mean that OR don’t have loads of parallel fibres running to the same place under-utilised but all chatting to the same headend.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Meadmodj

      Apologies my caching jut refreshed and I didn’t see your thoughtful reply.

      “I am sure they do have spare FTTC fibre capacity but I doubt it has been provided with consistency or has the future capacity needed.”

      At 40Gb per fibre there is a lot of spare capacity given that a 32 house PON sits on one 10Gb and an FTTC 256 lines DSLAM uses max 20Gb flat out and are more normally provisioned on 2.5:1 (?) ratio so one 10Gb will be plenty. That leaves the ability to provision 3 x PON’s on a single fibre and there is always a spare fibre to the DSLAM for failover. So that gives 6 x 32 = 192 dwellings worth of FTTP at present provision rates and that is before you consider using multiple light frequencies to multiply that up. So I would say there is plenty of capacity there for now. And it is also perfectly possible that there are empty tubes from headend to DSLAM that more fibre can be blown to already in the ground.

      “As most subscribers will be glad to move to the resilient FTTP they are likely to subscribe to the lower speed products so it is an option allowing OR taking a two stage approach by rolling out FTTP from a FTTC fibre and then providing additional capacity after. ”

      As above I don’t think that you need to do that. But you could get a lot more dwellings onto existing fibres by using 330/330

      “But I presume the FTTC fibres run to the FTTC cabinet which long term will be recovered and possibly to certain racking within the exchange. It might be simpler to just run out a new multi-fibre cable for rollouts connected to the latest OLTs and only use FTTC fibres as expedients.”

      Conceptually cheaper but means that a lot more physical work has to be done. And physical work takes time and costs money. Changing how the fibre is lit requires two bloke who know what they are doing for a few hours. Running kilometers of duplicate fibre can take man weeks.

      “The key commercial issue I see for OR is the ability to convert (regardless of ISP) Telephony, ADSL and FTTC as they roll out FTTP and BT’s timescales to close the PSTN.”

      I agree getting people onto FTTP fast is a big win for OR but it is only a win for OR when the DSLAM’s and the exchange copper racks can be powered off and that requires 100% coverage on that PCP.

      “Lots of people on here have faith in the Altnets but they currently focus their investments and only provide partial coverage where they do. The commercial viability appears to fall off quite quickly even in urban.”

      The Alt Nets have a valuable role in kicking OR up the backside to actually do stuff. The Alt Nets have demonstrated the possible cost base and blown OR’s “everything costs squillions and I need a bigger begging bowl” approach out of the water. If it was not for the Alt Nets OR would be doing precisely nothing right now about FTTP.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to dealing with the Alt Nets. Sitting here I am connected via a 1G/1G from an Alt Net that works fine for running a mid sized office. Would I use it for a data centre: no I wouldn’t. Is it good enough to do what we do with it: yes. Is it good value: yes it is. Is an OR FTTP line better: no because it doesn’t have the upstream to run an office on. Was an OR FTTP connection available at that location: no it wasn’t.

  13. Avatar A_Builder

    @TheFacts

    “A provider just needs to order a circuit, no problem.”

    Yes you can order a circuit but at present that tends to be new build from the headend or sometimes the nearest node.

    OR do not look at the FTTC fibre that is already there – it is not a part of the equation for either OR’s build out or Alt Net build out.

    In terms of keeping things conceptually simple that makes a lot of sense but in terms of doing things cheaply or quickly it is total nonsense.

  14. Avatar t0m5k1

    I hope this mean the half of the road that I’m on will get FTTP and my exchange gets more FTTP cards. Yes only half of my road has been given FTTP due to the installation company refusing to lift cobble stones to install the fibre!!!

    • Avatar george

      I have the exact same situation, BT gave every house on my road FTTP apart from mine, and I’m still stuck on 25mbps 4mbps upload

  15. Avatar Rural NI Left Behind

    Will this include Northern Ireland?
    Project Stratum in Northern Ireland was proposed as a means to help bring rural in line with urban, with Fermanagh and South Tyrone (counties in northern ireland) being the worst in the whole of the UK for Superfast Broadband speed.
    Now the Department of Economy NI has advised that they are required to implement a value for money approach and that areas which are not chosen in Project Stratum will be defined as “left behinds”. This is what happened with previous rollouts, and eventually the ‘left behinds’ become the forgotten.

  16. Avatar Jon

    The 40gb/s comments are misleading, current FTTC dslam and PON fibres are running at 2.4gbps,

    A Dslam can take extra fibres into the controller if congestion is an issue, they are built with 4 tails with only 1 connected until demand is required,

    The split of a pon network to 32 customers, is 2.4gbps fibre from the headend and gives 80mbps guaranteed per customer,

    Things will be more interesting with xg Pon as the technology will be running at 10gbps from the headend

  17. Avatar James W

    Would be better they announced a change to wayleave’s.

    As you can have money in the bank and an old goat saying no.

  18. Avatar A_Builder

    @Jon

    You are absolutely correct in what you say. I switched my brain off before posting. Apologies for the misleading post.

    What I should have said was that there are 4 x fibres from headend to DSLAM that can be repurposed to provide a remote headend.

    The remote headend would have a theoretical capacity of 40GB/s x 4.

    Allowing say 10Gb for the DSLAM and the same for a GFast pod there is still capacity for 120Gb/s of FTTP.

    That at will enable the connection of far more PONS to premises than the FTTC DSLAM ever served.

  19. Avatar John

    One question to all and sundry. What future home applications either in the pipeline, imaginary or desirable, envisaged or a gleam in someone’s mind, would demand home access to Gagabit? Don’t say gaming, that’s not a good use of taxpayers money…

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @John

      Gaming doesn’t really require bandwidth other than to download new games. It requires a very low latency connection which is provided by full fibre.

      Domestic bandwidth usage is rising by 40% per annum – source OR and OFCOM.

      As most family 80/20 lines are close to saturated at peak times ATM then the progression is something like

      2019 – 80
      2020 – 112
      2021 – 156
      2022 – 219
      2023 – 307
      2024 – 430
      2025 – 602

      Nobody, of course, really knows what future use will be or what tech will get better or what tech will be more bandwidth hungry.

      But even lower rates of increase of a geometrical progression leads to pretty big bandwidth requirements over time.

      So as well as lack of universality where the progression goes to is also another reason why, I suspect, OR abandoned GFast.

      More the point though is that FTTP provides a very reliable and cheaper to maintain network that has lower latency than copper and can be upgraded as tech improves to silly bandwidths in the future – if it is ever needed.

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      I’m not seeing much need for 1Gbps, but maybe I’m lacking imagination. I think of such speeds like the top speeds of cars; my 325i tops out at 149mph according to BMW, it’s madness to drive at anything like that speed in the UK but performance is effortless when you need it even when fully laden and going up a hill.

  20. Avatar Wayne Smith

    Boris Johnson broadband level up famous words

  21. Avatar Gilson Pereira

    Whilst everyone decides on what to do with residential customers, you have to remember there is still £23 Million left in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme fund.

    Businesses can receive up to £2,500 towards migrating to a gigabit connection: https://arrowcommunications.co.uk/gigabit-voucher-scheme/

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