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ISP Aquiss Shuns “wasteful” G.fast Broadband in Favour of FTTP

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 (1:01 pm) - Score 4,083

Shropshire-based UK ISP Aquiss has informed their customers that – after conducting “months of trials” – they will not be launching “ultrafast broadband” packages based off Openreach’s hybrid fibre G.fast service, which the provider has described as being a “resource wasteful technology.” Instead they’ll focus on FTTP.

At present the 160-330Mbps capable G.fast technology has already been deployed to cover 2.42 million UK premises, although Openreach (BT) have put their related plans under review and currently only aim to reach 2.73 million premises by March 2020 (here). It’s still possible that some G.fast may be deployed after March 2020 but the focus has clearly now shifted to “full fibre” deployments.

Despite this a number of providers are still offering G.fast based services (e.g. BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Zen Internet, EE etc.), although Aquiss believes that “such mind-sets are somewhat misguided.”

Martin Pitt, MD of Aquiss, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“A full-fibre approach is now the only logical way forward, putting aside short term solutions for long term benefits.

Our conclusion on G.fast is that it’s a resource wasteful technology both in deployment costs and that its delivered benefits are far less than originally proclaimed. The focus should now be on full-fibre and complete scaling back of any plans for G.fast in favour of FTTP and FTTH solutions.”

Aquiss currently offers a selection of FTTP packages from as little as £30 per month (currently £15.00 for the first 3 months) with free installation, although it’s worth pointing out that they haven’t yet begun to offer any ultrafast speeds (100Mbps+) alongside these; those are expected soon.

Under Openreach’s original plan the G.fast service would have been deployed to cover 10 million premises by the end of 2020.

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31 Responses
  1. Avatar NE555

    “Aquiss currently offers a selection of FTTP packages from as little as £30 per month”

    That package holds the dubious honour of being the slowest FTTP service available anywhere in the UK – 40/2.

    Fortunately, they also sell a decent service for only £1 or £2 more.

    • Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss

      …and yet the 40/2 package accounts for 35% of our FTTP orders.

    • @NE555. A number of FTTP providers also offer the slower 40Mbps and 80Mbps tiers, not only Aquiss, you just probably haven’t noticed they do it due to more traditionally associating those with FTTC.

    • Avatar xx-xx

      @martin

      that is actually kind of interesting.

      is there much of a difference price wise between 40/10 and 40/2?

    • Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss

      @xx-xx

      Very minimal difference when you factor everything in and we offer both side by side, however, we believe in offering the choice and let the buying public determine the choices.

    • Avatar David

      Martin – You have an Honestly that amazes me. I will call tomorrow to discuss a leased line.

    • Avatar NE555

      > is there much of a difference price wise between 40/10 and 40/2?

      At Openreach wholesale pricing, they are the same price.

      At retail from Aquiss, they are £1 different during the initial period, and £2 different thereafter.

      @Mark Jackson: plenty of companies are selling FTTP 40/10, but who else is selling 40/2?

    • Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss

      @NE555

      Why does it bother you what we sell? We also offer the 40/10, along with 80/20 and we are just finishing up our commercials for higher options.

      Dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t.

  2. Avatar Martin Streat

    That’s because most have no idea what they are buying. My brother and sister in law have had me explaining for hours. Nothing but puzzled looks

  3. Avatar kds

    exactly you can get cheaper FTTC connection faster than that

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Well you can if you are close enough to the DSLAM.

      Maybe the product is pitched at people on the end of a very long fibre who want something a bit better and a lot more reliable than ADSL?

      Maybe Martin is providing choice and letting people choose? That is market economics. For some people saving £1-2/month is meaningful and we shouldn’t sneer at that need.

      And why not offer it? Nobody is forced to buy it.

      At the end of the day I am sure Martin would have happy for people to upgrade their product to a faster and more expensive provision IF they needed it. And that is the beauty of FTTP it can be upgraded at any point in time.

    • Avatar kds

      I’m only commenting about calling it G.fast Broadband “wasteful” I don’t use Aquiss

  4. Avatar FibreBubble

    Nice spin, probably can’t find anyone to buy it from that gives them a competitive margin.

    • Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss

      It has nothing to do with competitive margins. When we sell a product we expect the solutions to meet high quality that customers should rightly expect. In all field trials we carried out across dozens of circuits, the predicted range that was supplied by Openreach for G.Fast v’s the in-field results fell well short.

      Expanding this out to live customer services we would result in increase customer queries for why expectations were not being met, increasing costs to us a business across many aspects. The product for us is not commercially solid enough and that does not sit right with myself when making decisions going forward.

  5. Avatar Stephen Wakeman

    Yeah wasteful and not forward thinking enough is an oddly hollow comment to make for a company that does pure fibre at FTTC speeds.

    Obviously full fibre offers huge scalability but that’s a bit of a moot point for a consumer product and even more so if you don’t offer anything faster using your vaunted tech than competitors offer with an inferior tech.

  6. Avatar adslmax

    Martin Pitt – Aquiss

    I have to agree that G.fast are very bad indeed (it ok for someone who live within a stone throw but mostly of the times some houses removed G.fast for no reason. Complete waste of money and time.

    Openreach – time to dump G.fast and start do a full fibre roll out!

  7. Avatar chris conder

    Gfast always has been a waste of time. Experts said so years ago. All part of the superfarce. Nice to see realisation is dawning.

    • Avatar adslmax

      Yes I agree 100% bring on FTTP but I heard if you got FTTC 80/20 & in cable area then FTTP will not gonna to happen for a very long time to wait.

      Hope it not true at all.

    • Avatar CarlT

      It had potential but delivering from cabinets only was a weird choice.

      If you’re referring to the ‘expert’ I think you are not so sure about that one, mind.

      G.fast had and still has potential if used properly.

  8. Avatar FibreBubble

    Yes the realisation appears to be that if you can’t sell a product competitively, you can at least rely on ISPReview to publish a moody ‘press’ release.

    • Well it is my job to keep people informed about developments and opinions like this, so that’s a bit of a random snipe. The greater sin would not be to report such things and stay silent. Of course if you don’t like how we do things then don’t visit or don’t read / comment on a story that doesn’t interest you, it’s optional. Nobody forces you.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @FiberBubble

      Or another way of looking at this is that it provides balance.

      @MJ published an interview with Zen which said they though Gfast was a good idea. This is the other side of the coin.

      Martin, as a small ISP, does have to think about two things that are not well expressed in the press release
      -cost of integrating the Gfast product
      -the sunset window for sale of Gfast

      Even Richard from Zen acknowledged that Gfast was a 10yr max solution. So can Martin get his investment back and an RoI in max 10 years? The alternative is to invest in partnering OR in their FTTP rollout which will be good for the foreseeable. I can see the business sense in what Martin is doing. Invest properly in one thing and do it well.

  9. Avatar SymetricalAccess

    At leat someone has some sense, well done Aquiss.

  10. Avatar Meadmodj

    I am not a fan of G.Fast at the cabinet but surely what would be “wasteful” if the previous investment was not utilised. ISPs can rightly decide which products to wish to offer. If providing a G.Fast modem or the support hassle is too much then fine but if it is there then some can benefit in the interim until alternatives arrive.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      I think the issue is more the unevenness of the functionality of GFast.

      My home GFast is great and gives a robust(ish) 285/48.5 except when the wind blows strongly then it drops a bit 🙁

      The one we had in NW London at an office was so hopeless we got rid of it and went for two bonded VDSL lines.

      The higher frequencies on GFast are more susceptible to attenuation at junctions than VDSL. The speed estimates are probably based on historical VDSL line sync data.

      Also factor in the copper lines-don’t-run-straight issues and I can quite see why a smaller ISP doesn’t want to get into trouble shooting a non universal tech.

      At least Martin has a consistent logical position and is prepared to publicly explain why which is a breath of fresh air TBH.

  11. Avatar dave

    Being 100m from my cab and currently load balancing 2×80/20 FTTC connections, I would be very happy to get G.Fast.

    It seems that the people who can’t get it call it a waste of time for purely selfish reasons.

    I doubt they are going to FTTP this area any time soon, so G.Fast would be a great solution until they do.

  12. Avatar Woopsadaisy

    The bloke from Aquarius has some cheek telling another company that their product is ‘ resource wasteful’. Who’s resource, his companies or the network providers ? And the trail of ‘ dozens of circuits’ hardly seems up to much when there must be millions of circuits , or at the very least 100’s of thousands of circuits to scrape data from ? Ironic he also says ‘ damned if you do and damned if you don’t ‘ , I’m sure the network operator would say the same. You want FTTP? go and build it , not happy with a product someone is selling? Don’t buy it .
    I’m not from these parts, back home we’ve had FTTP for years , but wait for it…..it’s £70 a month and just not worth it. I was amazed when I moved to the Uk I could get the same speeds for £7 a month, FTTc , not that I give a dam, Works perfect for me and everyone I know .

    • Avatar Andre

      Actually, I find his candour refreshing.
      It is obviously HIS opinion and HIS decision and HIS strategic view of where he wants HIS company to go.

      But if you look at earlier comments, he doesn’t come across as an idiot who makes spurious decisions. He actually put a very good case for his opinion based on his company’s trials and the fact that expectations were rarely being met in the field.

      It is no sin to call a rubbish product a rubbish product if it is indeed behaving as a rubbish product.

  13. Avatar William

    So they have just excluded a potential chunk of their customer base! I live next to my cabinet (outside my front door, 10m from NTE) with no virgin, a small village of 100 lines, so will never get FTTP, so the only way I can get above a 80/20 sync is for Openleach/Openreich to install g.fast on my cab!

    • Avatar Andre

      “Will never get FTTP” is not necessarily true, there seems to be quite a push for proper fibre deployment, although I accept that lower density populations may be lower on the list of priorities.
      It’s not necessarily true that you’d be more likely to get g.Fast anyway, and even if you did then maybe YOU would benefit but I rather suspect most other people in the village would not.

      Have you considered lobbying your Council or MP? When I was stuck with 1.5Mbps ADSL I did and, coincidence or not, my FTTP service is being installed on Wednesday

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