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G.fast Broadband Gets Commercial UK Launch by Openreach

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 8,420

After several years Openreach (BT) has finally announced that their G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) “ultrafast broadband” ISP technology, which is capable of offering download speeds up to 330Mbps (50Mbps upload), is to finally get a full commercial launch on 1st April 2020. But its coverage seems unlikely to improve much.

Given the wide availability of G.fast among ISPs, including major providers like BT, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk, it may surprise some people to learn that the technology has been sat in the Early Market Deployment (EMD) phase for years. This means that ISPs can sell related products to consumers but they do so in the knowledge that the new service could still be subject to change.

What is G.fast? In a G.fast setup the fibre optic cable only goes as far as your local PCP street cabinet and then runs to homes via existing copper lines. The service harnesses 106-212MHz of spectrum and delivers its best speeds for those within c.200-300 metres of a cabinet (FTTP takes a high-capacity optical fibre cable all the way to your home).

The hybrid fibre G.fast network currently covers 2,725,000 UK premises, although it remains unclear whether it will be extended much beyond this point because further deployments were placed under review last year (here); due in no small part to the greater focus on Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology as the more future proof broadband solution.

Under the original plan Openreach had intended to push G.fast out to cover 10 million UK premises by March 2021 (financial), but the change to focus on “full fibre” resulted in this target shrinking to 5.7 million premises in 2018 (here). During autumn last year the roll-out target was then reduced once again to 2.73 million, which was set for March 2020 (here).

So far as we (and various ISPs) are aware the fate of G.fast has yet to be fully clarified by Openreach (we did ask yesterday but were told to expect an update at the end of this month). In the meantime Openreach’s final wholesale pricing for their commercial launch is unchanged from the most recent EMD pricing (here and here).

We strongly suspect that some G.fast may continue to be deployed going forward, albeit in a much more limited and targeted way. Otherwise the main focus for the future remains firmly on FTTP, which is expected to cover 4 million premises by March 2021 and then potentially 15 million by around 2025.

Leave a Comment
25 Responses
  1. Avatar Pezza

    And f it’s coverage isn’t likely to improve, then it seems as though it was a totally failed exercise and a waste of money.
    I thought this was one of the technology’s they would use for Boris’s gigabit time every home broadband promise?

  2. Avatar Jon

    Ive got G.Fast and its brilliant , i get the full 330/30 package and im 300m from the cabinet.

    • Avatar Summer is Here

      True?????

    • Avatar Mick Wright

      Really? 330/50 from 300m?

    • Avatar Mark Frost

      Im currently paying sky £40 a month for 10mbps and more often than not drops to 2mbps. Im 1.7km (phone line) and 480m (crow fly). Can Gfast improve my situation and how do I get it?

    • Avatar John

      G.Fast is only available to those close enough to their FTTC cabinets to get the full 80Mb (or very close to it).

    • Avatar A_Builder

      330 @ 300m is impossible with GFast.

      I’m 140m from the cabinet and get about 285/47 – dropped a tiny bit as more take up bites.

  3. Avatar Philip Cheeseman

    The deployment for gfast is really odd. The amalgam of small collection of towns/villages I live in has gfast in a lot of areas (based on thinkbroadbands maps) but not my specific town? It can’t be a density issue as I live on a large 70s estate (all connected to one cabinet servicing 500+ properties), yet small villages 2 miles down the road have it? I’m just hoping its a sign my area might get openreach FTTP sooner rather than later but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Avatar John Cooper

      I think your correct phil. Its a stop gap for areas that arent on the main map yet.

    • Avatar Mr C Fodder

      It can be the location of the PCP, my PCP has a fence built around it and is the only one in the area not upgraded, as it cannot easily have the side pod added. G.Fast seems to have pick easy and low cost quick wins, anything else was ignored.

    • Avatar Philip Cheeseman

      @Mr C Fodder – Not the case here. Lots, and lots of space around the cabinet. I suspect something else is the problem. Its already got a side pod to cope with the 500+ properties that are connected – maybe its a capacity issue? Or maybe 70s Estate ducting is consider a poor fit for gfast… As I say all the smaller less densely populated villages got it.

  4. Avatar ianh

    I noticed on roadworks.org (or whatever the site is now called) that my local box is schedule for some work this weekend:

    Reshell existing Cab with associated new plinth and approx 1m of duct w…

    They fitted new cables before christmas but i suspect this is a capacity thing rather than my hopes for G.Fast. Surrounding area has virgin and BT FTTP, we are just a large weird bean shaped underground estate so im doubtful!

  5. Avatar Declan M

    Will this work in alliance with Full Fibre? As I live in a small village and waited a good while for FTTC and just had a g fast pod bolted to the side of the cabinet.

    • Avatar John

      You can no longer tell from the style of the pod if G.Fast had been installed.

      They are using the same pods for VDSL2 capacity upgrades.

    • Avatar Declan M

      Hi John, there is lots of capacity in the cabinet only 2/3 of the way full with no new houses being built in the near future. It defiantly is a g fast pod has vents on the front like FTTC cabinet. Will be ordering G fast when it becomes available anyway about 100m away from cabinet.

  6. Avatar Sam

    Does this mean when you do a exchange check and see 330mb available you’ll actually be able to get it. Because my exchange says 330 available but you can only order up to 80meg?

    • Avatar MR

      U might be confused with FTTPoD 330/30 as it more expensive one, otherwise G.fast not available to order.

  7. Avatar goatfarmer

    But will Gfast now become a self-install product for customers that already have FTTC connected instead of having to wait around for an engineer and have time off work?

  8. Avatar Lyncol

    The joy’s of living close to lovely green cabinets ….sod the rest of us!

  9. Avatar James

    We have G fast and it’s fantastic, were rural but on an estate and we got about 30 meg before and about 3 or so up and now we get 200 down and 25 up, coupled with a good aftermarket mesh network and it’s just perfect for the whole family as we can all pull a ton of data and theres no slow down, also the line seems more stable like we can hold the same connection for months at a time whereas before it would be a week or so.
    I’m in tech and I was sceptical about G fast but it’s actually a good middle ground on the way to full fibre at some point, it would be even better if the very rural houses a mile down the line could get something, even 20 meg out here would be life changing for them!

    • Avatar MR

      No one ever get G.fast if you got 30/3 jump to 200/25 (more likely another lie!) U only get g.fast 200/25 if your line get 80/20. Stop lying.

    • Avatar Boohoo

      He may of had a fault on the line that got rectified on the gfast install is that so hard to believe?? By the sounds of it, if his vdsl was dropping weekly I suspect he had an internal bridge Tap which was removed by putting the gfast ssfp on during install.

      I have gfast 160mg at home and have the same aftermarket mesh network. My whole home is covered and never any slowed downs, even when the wifes large family comes over some weekends and the kids pull out the iPads or have netflix playing or games and what not. No slow down, no drops just works. Like the water I turn the tap it flows no if no buts.

  10. Avatar Ian Wylie

    Due to the breakthrough made by Genesis, this month there is a commercial trails of Gfast providing gigabit speeds to customers on more than 1lm of copper wire!

    See article @ https://www.bbcmag.com/breaking-news/genesis-launches-ng-g-fast-based-products.

    I think it would be wise if BT started commercial trails of this version of Gfast also with a view to rolling this out widely. ROI on this versus FTTP(FTTH), makes much more financial sense.

    Ian W.
    Linlithgow
    Scotland

  11. Avatar MARTIN TAYLOR

    My PCP box is 0.98miles from my house as I’m at the very end of a cul de sac. With BT. Get 40Mbps download about 8 up. Very very steady, but cannot use my 4K Ultra HD Tv, just HD, as understand needs min 55 Mbps. Will G Fast likeawise slow down the further away from the cabinet? I guess so. Cannot get Virgin on my road either. Yet my office 2 miles away. Got Virgin 500Mbps – BRILL

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