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ISP G.Network Live and Bringing Gigabit Broadband to London Homes UPDATE

Saturday, September 7th, 2019 (7:40 am) - Score 6,985

UK ISP G.Network, which between 2017 and 2018 hoovered up £65m of private investment (here) to support their ambition for rolling out FTTPultra-fast broadband” to 120,000 premises across parts of London, has spent most of 2019 on the initial build of their network and the first homes have already gone live.

The provider’s civil engineering teams first started their work on King Street (St James / W1 postcodes) in January, which shortly thereafter became one of 40 initial streets to be connected and the plan has been to follow this with a further 1,000 streets during the year.

Since then the G.Networks teams have been spotted working in Mayfair, Camden and Marylebone. A few months ago they also started work in parts of Tower Hamlets and Kensington & Chelsea, before jumping into Hackney. Most recently Bayswater was also been given the treatment ahead of the recent Notting Hill Carnival. They’re also using electric vans, which makes perfect sense in London.

So far as we can tell they appear to be deploying 10Gbps capable XGS-PON or similar technology, although naturally their residential packages only go up to 1Gbps (symmetric) but the capability clearly exists to go faster in the future.

Packages tend to start at £28 inc. VAT per month for an unlimited 150Mbps (50Mbps upload) service that includes a free router, dedicated relationship manager (no not a married couples self-help group) and a £50 connection charge (free with a voucher). There’s no mention of a minimum contract term for this plan so we assume it’s a 30 day arrangement.

By comparison the top package costs £57 per month (currently reduced to £48) for a symmetric 1Gbps speed, which is said to be available in either 1 or 2 year contracts. Broadly speaking the pricing is very competitive and is clearly mindful of how much rival full fibre ISPs may be charging for similar services.

The provider broadly appears to be targeting streets and SMEs where there is a lack of competing FTTP providers, although they have overbuilt some of Virgin Media’s 500Mbps+ cable network in the city and perhaps a few of Hyperoptic’s FTTP/B patches (note: it’s not clear if G.Networks is doing the same MDUs / apartment blocks or just passing nearby).

Over the past few years we’ve seen a large number of new full fibre ISPs crop up, although many have yet to even start their builds and some have only done much smaller deployments. By comparison G.Networks now appears to be maturing into a steady deployment pace and long may it continue.

gnetworks engineers

UPDATE 10th Sept 2019

G.Network has informed us that they’ve already passed around 40,000 premises in Central London (i.e. fibre is right outside or into the building, ready to connect). So far most of their work has taken place in Westminster, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea and Islington. The provider will be moving into new boroughs in the coming months and are passing around 10,000 premises per month, which is very good given how recently they started.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar Meadmodj says:

    In the streets that they will cover this has to be a no brainer. The business offerings are also very competitive from small shop to high user. I also welcome that they clearly state speed bands on their business products e.g 150 Mbps to 1 Gbps which is both honest and helpful.

  2. Avatar Roger_Gooner says:

    I am mildly amazed that an operator is based in Mayfair. Also, how come there were places in and around Mayfair without fibre?

    1. Avatar Jonny says:

      The whole West End suffers from this. There’s no space on the streets for FTTC cabinets (or the local authority didn’t want them) and the types of commercial tenants for the most part wouldn’t have too much of an issue paying for fibre ethernet services. In the last 18 months or so the amount of fibre going in has exploded – Openreach included, and Community Fibre are in that mix as well.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Central London has some of the worst copper based broadband.

      The number of EO lines is unbelievable.

      VM are also notably absent on a lot of these areas.

      We regularly do projects where we can only get 5/1Mb/s in Paddington and Mayfair. And in some places it is amazingly difficult to get 4G. We had one project with a high gain antennae on a 4.8m long piece of 4″ x 2″ screwed to the side of the cabins to get any decent throughput.

      Cheap internet that works will sell well.

      Congratulations to people doing useful things for all.

  3. Avatar Anonymous_Writer says:

    @Roger_Gooner: I’ve lived in central London most of my life and there are a lot of streets in our area which don’t have any OpenReach fibre, this is despite my little pocket of W1 containing lots of residential streets.

    Personally I suspect the reason BT/Openreach don’t have fibre here is because they want to charge businesses in our area a lot of money to use their various leased line products. This means that residents are simply collateral damage in this decision. Part of it is also probably political so that BT can state they did not prioritise central London over the rest of the country. In fact I wrote to the BT leadership a number of years ago and was told to go apply to the ‘Rural Broadband Fund’ if I wanted fibre, despite the fact that the BT Tower is at the end of my street! Our area was on the original FTTP list, however this was dropped at some point before the rollout began.

    Virgin Media do provide service in our area, but as some of you know, Camden and Westminster are VM’s biggest areas. Consequently many of the VM cabinets are often oversubscribed. As we are a captive audience for VM if we want fast internet, fixes to the VM service are slow at the best of times. I recently had loss of VM service for 5 weeks, and VM did not care at all.

    I’ve actually just had G.Network connected and I have to admit that I can’t really fault them. The team deploying the fibre were here for a number of hours and did a neat install in our building. Unlike Hyperoptic which does FTTB installs, I have an actual personal fibre deployed into my flat which connects into their ONT.

    Speeds appear to be claimed 1G up/down and ping between 1-3ms depending on whom you are testing against. Support seems ok, but support hours are limited compared to the big providers. They also have not signed up to the usual ISP codes of conduct or oversight bodies, but hopefully that will improve in time.

  4. Avatar fabio says:

    i live in chinatown and it’s not covered by anything apart from old broadband..really slow 16 mbit sec..

  5. Avatar Paul says:

    BT absolutely don’t do FTTC because they want companies to pay for leased line. In 2015 annoyed by BT doing this, I got all the London Starbucks phone numbers (which are publicly available as a CSV), and looked up each (programmaticly) using Openreachs DSL search (https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/adslchecker.welcome). Only 20% of the phone numbers searched with 0208/0207 numbers came back as having FTTC available. I used Starbucks as they’re generally in places with other shops, and they’d have a good spread over London. I have all the scripts so could run it again. I used this data to try and complain via the local council etc, but got no where. 🙁
    It doesn’t take into account Virgin’s coverage of London, but it does show what BT had back then.

  6. Avatar 125us says:

    Unless you know those lines are delivered by Openreach analogue last miles you’ve not really proved anything. If they’re provided by Virgin you’ll get ‘not available’. If they’re ISDN rather than analogue lines you’ll get ‘not available’.

    Your data doesn’t tell you what to think it does.

  7. Avatar Paul says:

    @125us I was able to take out the not available ones as I grabbed all the pages for all the numbers. I was sharing what I’d done in case anyone wanted to do it again, or check it, or progress it. When we had an office in London, the internet options were leased line or slow/basic adsl. we tried the Relish wireless broadband but that was awful too (why you cant add an aerial to their boxes are crazy as it meant you had to balance the router on a window edge to get internet.) Virgin was on the street but took 2 years from order to installation.
    Thankfully I don’t have to work in an office in London anymore.

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