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ISP BT Quietly Culls ADSL Based Unlimited Broadband Packages

Friday, September 20th, 2019 (9:41 am) - Score 11,512

As part of this week’s routine check of UK ISP prices we noticed that BT appears to have removed their older pure copper line ADSL / ADSL2+ based unlimited broadband and phone packages from display, which leaves only their FTTC, G.fast and FTTP based “fibre” broadband services on display for new customers.

Packages are sometimes suspended as a temporary measure, most often during or before a major product refresh or when trying to focus take-up toward different services, although in this case we’ve noted that the ADSL based service doesn’t even show up when running through BT’s own availability (pre-order) system, unless you’re in an ADSL-only area. We have reached out to BT in the hope of getting their rationale for the change.

NOTE: The old ADSLMax standard can deliver up to 8Mbps, while ADSL2+ can deliver up to c.20-24Mbps on optimal lines; many people received significantly less.

The focus upon faster fibre-based broadband services is of course entirely understandable, although it’s worth remembering that around 30% of broadband connected UK premises still subscribe to an ADSL based service. Likewise a small proportion of homes in rural areas – as well as a few urban buildings with Exchange Only Lines (EOL) – still have no other fixed line option than ADSL (we’re probably talking about the last c.1-2% of premises). A few might be able to get mobile broadband (4G) though.

At some point older ADSL services will need to be retired, probably sooner rather than later, and so we wouldn’t be surprised if this was the start of that gradual effort, although it’s worth remembering that for the time being there are still plenty of ISPs able to offer such packages. Aquiss is another ISP that has moved to retire their ADSL packages.

We await BT’s response and will update accordingly. Take note that the above change has no impact upon BT’s existing base of ADSL using subscribers.

UPDATE 9:48am

A quick check in with Andrew over at Thinkbroadband confirms that 1.7% of UK premises (c.550,000) are only able to take a fixed line broadband service using ADSL. The reality here can be a little more complex though as this excludes those few properties who have ADSL and VDSL2 (FTTC) coverage, but the VDSL2 is very slow (VDSL2 isn’t sold to sub-2Mbps lines but ADSL is).

UPDATE 10:15am

One of our readers (Simon) has noticed that the ADSL packages still show up, but only if you live in a non-fibre based area where only ADSL is available and only after running an availability check first.

UPDATE 26th Sept 2019

On some affiliate links it’s possible to make the ADSL service appear in the packages list, although if you try to order it in an area where faster FTTC, G.fast or FTTP packages are available then BT now returns the following notice: “Sorry, the product you selected is not available at your address” (even though it is available, they’re just not selling it to you).

Leave a Comment
28 Responses
  1. Sally says:

    I am glad some people can still be bothered – for people who can’t get FTTC or the like ADSL is their only option – Unless a Satellite provider wants to hoover them up – or they get decent 4G coverage -might be depriving people of internet which will go against the USO? I remember when they took out the phone box in my village – despite few people having a phone and relying on it

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Sadly the USO will mostly be done via 4G, with FTTP/C solving a smaller proportion.

  2. Simon says:

    Just checked availability on the BT website for a flat with ADSL only and it is still showing standard broadband available for £29.99 pm.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Yep thanks Simon, looks like it still shows – after a check – if you’re in an ADSL-only area, but not if there’s clearly a better fibre service available.

    2. Sally says:

      It’s still showing on my checker Mark with FTTP available. It might well disappear over the next few days. Thanks for the reply also

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      Do you have an example postcode to test with Sally as I can’t replicate that.

  3. Toby Adams says:

    Thank f**k for Virgin Media. I can see Canary Wharf out of my bedroom windows yet still only ADSL and no fibre even on the horizon.

    1. Jake says:

      You could understand not having FTTC in rural areas. But the fact that BT fail to provide 100% FTTC coverage WITHIN the M25 zone shows there are some monumental failures within BT and its terrible management.

  4. John Holmes says:

    Check for my postcode


    Your download speed range
    2Mb – 5Mb

    Your Stay Fast Guarantee 1Mb
    Upload speed 1Mb

    When I did use them I got 8mb on ADSL and 10mb on ADSL2, hence one of the reasons I left, if the line was noisy they still would not accept there was an issue as they deliberately under target against actual.

  5. Ben says:

    No BT FTTC here in PE9 4, but fortunately I can still apparently buy Standard Broadband at 2mbps down and 1mbps up for the fantastic price of £29.99.

    Thanks BT and Thanks Ed Vaizey for all those BDUK promises that never quite delivered.

  6. chris conder says:

    and the superfarce rocks on.

    1. CarlT says:

      What? They’re withdrawing sale of ADSL from anywhere it’s not the only option. What’s the problem?

  7. Michael V says:

    For a while now, Vodafone haven’t offered ADSL broadband to new customers.
    Their Superfast is a similar cost to what the old pans were too.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      That’s why Vodafone can’t supply me and anyone else that can’t get FTTC/P with a broadband connection at any price. In fact there is a rapidly shrinking choice of ISPs for Market A ADSL/ADSL2+ only lines.

  8. Mike says:

    How anyone can use ADSL with 4G around…

    1. Mark says:

      Not everywhere has 4G that’s why.

  9. Mark says:

    Hopefully a step towards integrating wired and wireless access – the same company (BT) can offer us <1 Mb/s on our 12 km line from the exchange (5 km just from cabinet!) and 90-110 Mb/s on 4G+ with just the bog-standard EE/Alcatel router, but with wildly different prices and terms. They have talked about bringing the two together, so maybe this autumn in preparation for the USO….

    1. John Holmes says:

      Why the need for the wire, I am 4g only and have 2 voip numbers, one routed through the 4G router and the other through a Cisco SPA122 pluged into the main router.

    2. Web Dude says:

      @ John Holmes

      As you have surely seen, not every area can even get 3G mobile service.

      I am going to be dependent on mobile/ hotspot for a bit before I go to Hyperoptic but that needs me to move home to a flat where Hyperoptic is available.

    3. John Holmes says:

      I read Marks post as he has both wired, albeit slow, and 4G and wanted a joint solution. I run 4G broadband and use VOIP for my old BT number and the phoneline is disconnected. If I did not have 4G then I would be stuck with BT.

  10. Bob says:

    Very interesting, I can stand in my front drive and throw a tennis ball into my local exchange yard. I am on a E/O DP, I get approx 17M down load. I have cable running past the old Birmingham Cable now Virgin Media, not a very large take up of this locally, most people are on BT or SKY. There is no way I can see Openreach or any one else, providing fibre for 28 premises in our close. 4G is not an option as the locals up the road have stopped most mast upgrades so the 4G signal is very poor. I know for a fact there are 100,000’s of E/O feed premises, across the UK, and it is not all copper there is still aluminium out there, and I am sure their 4G signal could be poor as well.
    So unless there an unlimited supply of cash to provide fibre or upgrade masts it will be a post code lottery of what you are able to get, exactly as it is now.

  11. Clive C says:

    I have an ADSL based service from BT – ona £1 a month deal – it is a backup to Virgin Media for me. Several times BT have written to me to offer me a free upgrade to FTTC at no additional cost. However after the first year the cost will increase significantly so I have not taken up the offer.

    However this did make me wonder if it was the beginning of the end for the older ADSL services. Removing them from new supply would seem to match that view.

  12. Darren says:

    Why would anyone want to take up a non-fibre option anyway unless they are in a non fibre area – non fibre is sold at £29.99 a month where as fibre is offered at the same price – or in some cases less.

    Unfortunately those of us in non-fibre areas are the ones getting absolutely screwed over by this. I’m in a 3mbps non-fibre area – I can’t watch 4K movies, at times (especially during the middle of the day) I can’t even do website design because the internet is so slow and that’s just sending text to a server!! I’m debating getting rid of ADSL and just going on 4G – last night I tested my phones 4G connection as I bought a £25 GiffGaff unlimited Goodybag – and was surprised that I could watch Planet Earth on Netflix in full 4K (wow – that looks so much better than the quality give out by the phone line that PlusNet supply!) and yet that Goodybag on GiffGaff is about £20 less than what I’m paying PlusNet. Vodafone also do an unlimited data sim at less price than what I’m paying Plusnet for their mediocre excuse of a service – and the worst thing is our cabinet does actually have fibre enabled, it’s just we’re three miles away and so apparently three miles is too far for fibre to travel and the 60 houses in this village don’t count as needing fast broadband.

    1. Mrmond says:

      You do realise that after 40 gig that unlimited goody bag gets restricted in speed to 384kbps between 8am and midnight? 4k streaming will whomp through that in no time.

    2. GNewton says:

      “so apparently three miles is too far for fibre to travel”

      Wrong. A fibre line can be tens of miles long with no signal degradation.

      Or are you talking about a VDSL copper line?

  13. craski says:

    It makes perfect sense to stop offering new ADSL connections in areas where a fibre based alternative is already available. We have to start the transition of removing it at some point in future and this is the most obvious first step to achieve that.

  14. Guy Dawson says:

    We’ve friends in Ullinish and Eabost on the Isle of Skye and they have ADSL via EO lines from the Struan exchange. There’s no mobile coverage either as they’re in a glen and are shadowed from the mobile masts.

    To make it extra galling the backhaul fiber for FTTC in Dunvegan runs past the Sturan exchange.

    I guess they’ll have to wait for the Scottish Government’s R100 project to complete. If it ever starts!

  15. Joris B says:

    Germans tried the r100 and it never really worked. I live in anchor housing and they have so far refused to get “the box” central london, Discrimination agaianst the aged . Must be stopped , righting to MP , has other things on her mind.

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