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First Customers Live on ISP toob’s 1Gbps FTTH in Southampton

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 (7:32 am) - Score 2,927
toob engineers upscaled image

Portsmouth-based UK ISP toob, which was setup by a group Vodafone’s former directors and is being supported by an investment of £75m (here), has announced that the first customers have now gone live on their new symmetric 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network in Southampton (Hampshire).

The Southampton build alone – using “full fibre” kit from ADTRAN (TA5000) – is expected to cost £50m to complete and will cover 100,000 premises by the end of 2021. The operator also has longer-term plans to expand beyond that and aspires to cover a total of over 1 million properties across the South of England.

At the time of writing toob says that their service is currently only available in a few apartment blocks to the south of the city centre, with more becoming available within the “next few weeks“. Network construction is also said to have begun in the Bevois area, although at present we can only see work being conducted by Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media in that area.

Customers can expect to pay just £25 inc. VAT per month to access toob’s unlimited 900Mbps+ (average) symmetric speed service on an 18 month minimum contract term, which is accompanied by a £49 one-off installation charge. The pricing is incredibly low for a commercial FTTP provider on a Gigabit tier and indeed it may be one of the cheapest in the market.

Nick Parbutt, toob’s CEO, said:

“I am delighted to launch our hyperspeed broadband in Southampton. Our first customers have told us how much of a positive impact fast, reliable broadband has had.

Whether our customers are streaming movies, shopping, studying, working, or gaming or all of these at the same time, our hyperspeed broadband has the speed and reliability to deliver it all without slowing or interruption.

We look forward to continuing our roll-out across Southampton and bringing the benefits of hyperspeed broadband to the whole City.”

One reason why toob is so cheap might be to help them peel customers away from Virgin Media, which is by far their biggest rival in the city. The reason for this is because Virgin Media recently made Southampton their first Gigabit broadband city with an upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which at a stroke made 1Gbps+ download speeds available to everybody within reach of their network.

The CEO of Virgin Media, Lutz Schüler, recently warned that he intended to “fight back” against smaller alternative network providers and “will use everything to keep them out of our city” (here), although they can’t match toob for either price or upload speeds (Virgin can only offer a maximum of 50Mbps upload on their Gigabit tier).

On the other hand toob has nothing to compete with Virgin’s Pay TV platform and their coverage has a long way to go before it can match Virgin’s local cable network. Suffice to say that Southampton should be an interesting test case to see how smaller and more affordable altnets fair when they go up against an established Gigabit network. Some models suggest that around three Gigabit providers should be able to survive in dense urban areas.


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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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20 Responses
  1. ianh says:

    Well im jealous

  2. Tim says:

    I can only dream

  3. Matthew says:

    That is kind of problem with UK until Sky Launch a Full PayTV option for anyone with just internet you are stuck with just NowTV thankfully it is has been upgraded to 1080p

    1. Stuart says:

      Not just NowTV. There is Netflix, Amazon & BritBox. NowTV has only just got 1080p? Netflix and Amazon are both 4K.

    2. Matthew says:

      But none of them is trying to be a PAYTV option with live tv channels apart from Amazon i guess with it’s sports thing. NowTV is meant to be a live TV PayTV option for people without cable or Sat

  4. AnotherTim says:

    Even their business 900Mbps service is only £50pm (ex VAT) – amazing value, especially given the SLA which is better than most altnets.

    1. Neb says:

      Must be a loss leader and all about the asset sale in the future.

  5. Gary Hayward says:

    VM charge £62. I wonder if they will compete on price?

    1. Ben says:

      Doubtful and even if they competed on price they’ll get nowhere near Toobs upload speed.

      I cannot wait. They say my area is due to be upgraded late next year.

    2. Grundinator says:

      Ben, have you received more information when when you are due the upgrade or is it the same plans and details on the website about 20/21 plans?

  6. CarlT says:

    Really aggressive pricing. Time will tell how sustainable it is.

    I reckon there’s a lot of consolidation coming in this sector in the not too distant, assuming we aren’t all using CorbynNet.

    1. beany says:


      LOL, Like Skynet only no robots allowed as they never go on strike 😀

  7. Roger_Gooner says:

    My understanding is that Toob is keeping costs low by using Openreach’s ducts and poles where possible. Also you have to wonder whether users will see a slowdown at peak times on this GPON.

    1. NetTech says:

      What makes you think it’s GPON? Doesn’t mention this in the article.

    2. A_Builder says:

      Even if it is GPON it should be fine for domestic use. It is going to be mikes better than any DSL tech.

      If it is XGSGPON then it would be more than fine.

      In any case upgrading the GPON element is pretty trivial once the fibres are in place.

  8. FibreBubble says:

    Every man and his dog are unbundling Openreach ducts at the moment Including Virgin and Cityfibre estensively in my manor.

    Can’t see them making money selling at £20.83 given that much hyped B4RN are losing money at £25 and they have voluntary labour and wayleaves.

    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      The point of charging £25 is not to make money, it’s to get customers and publicity. Think of the losses as being part of the marketing budget. They’ve got some available funds as Amber has invested £75m. There will inevitably be a price rise at the end of the 18-month contracts.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      B4RN is £30 per month but IMO they probably should be charging £34 to help sustainability.

    3. Kitty says:

      According to their website, the out of contract cost is £29 a month @Roger_Gooner. Not a massive rise if they stick to it

    4. FibreBubble says:

      Was talking ex vat prices

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