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ISP Zen Internet UK Soft Launches 900Mbps FTTP Broadband

Friday, July 10th, 2020 (3:14 am) - Score 8,085
zen internet uk isp

Broadband ISP Zen Internet has confirmed that they’ve this week begun to soft launch a new range of packages based off Openreach’s latest 550Mbps (75Mbps upload) and 1000Mbps (115Mbps upload) consumer Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) tiers, although you won’t see them on their website for another week or two.

The new tiers officially launched at wholesale on 23rd March 2020, although Openreach’s decision to pause new FTTP orders due to the COVID-19 crisis (and associated lockdown measures) ultimately resulted in a few ISPs delaying their own launch plans. Nevertheless, a number of providers have now introduced related packages (here) and Zen are the latest on that list.

NOTE: Openreach’s FTTP network covers 2.75 million UK premises, which will rise to 4.5 million by March 2021 and then 20 million by the mid to late 2020s (2025-30).

We first became aware of this after some of Zen’s existing customers found they could now upgrade their FTTP plan to the 500Mbps and 900Mbps+ (average speed) tiers. At the time of writing the full package details aren’t yet available on their website (you can call to ask), but one of those who subscribed said that the top 900Mbps plan will cost £70 per month and 500Mbps is £55 (it’s possible this may be a special discount rate, we don’t know yet). Plus there’s the usual £55 activation fee and if you want a voice service on top then you’ll need to add +£10.

One thing to be mindful of here is that Zen often only offer their best prices in areas where they’ve been able to unbundled the local exchange from BT, which reflects most of the UK but there may be some patches where it’s not yet available via their platform. Interestingly their new 500Mbps tier currently seems to be cheaper than the 300Mbps one.

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38 Responses
  1. Avatar Max says:

    Interesting, I’ve always been someone that has favoured Zen where possible and reluctantly went with BT this time around as I wanted that sweet 900Mbps without waiting, still within my 14 day cooling off period.

    Hopefully it’s decent pricing, may stay with BT at £59.99 if it’s something like £80 a month as BT in my experience so far network and support wise (since FTTP has it’s own technically minded team) has been superb.

    1. Avatar Luggles says:

      Can you comment further on your experience with BT’s FTTP support? I was a BT customer years ago and could only get decent support, when getting a mod’s attention on their forums. Is the FTTP support only via phone or is there webchat or email?

      Can’t decide whether to go with BT for price or Zen for support (currently with A&A but can’t bring myself to spend the money for just 160/20 with them)

    2. Avatar Max says:

      @Luggles – When you’re on FTTP with BT, you get through to a specific UK based team who have more technical knowledge than your super basic front line people, I had to call them yesterday to resolve my 50mbps speed lock problem on the Smart Hub 2 and it was quickly escalated to Tier 2 support who then had it fixed within 5 minutes, all on the same call.

      Providing you don’t need support 24/7 which you’re unlikely to ever need on FTTP, I’d go BT and for that reason I’ve decided to stay BT.

  2. Avatar Harmz says:

    Is there an up-to-date online resource somewhere that tells you if they’ve unbundled your exchange?

    There was an article here a while back saying zen were pushing to get mass coverage over the UK. I think it said they had 400 exchanges, aiming for 700 by march 2021. But when I check samknows, it says they’ve only got 4. ThinkBroadband only seems to show status for sky and talk talk.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Won’t actually help anyway as they supply different products via their own network in different areas.

      My own for instance everything above the 80 Mb services goes via BT Wholesale while below is unbundled.

  3. Avatar Euan says:

    I’m just off the phone to Zen to regrade my FTTP service to the new 900mbit/sec tier; as per the article it is £70pcm, and I was told that the 500mbit/sec tier is £55pcm. Also as per the article, it wasn’t clear whether this was promotional pricing or not (but looking at pricing from BT and knowing Zen, I suspect not personally but that’s just conjecture!)

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Are you on WBMC or GEA, Euan?

    2. Avatar Tom says:

      I’ve just done the same – regraded to 1G for £70/month.

      I was already paying £59.99 for 300m, so the 500m is actually cheaper.

      Zen have said that it will take ~72 hours, and the Fritzbox they provide ( 7350 ) should work with 1G, although the tech specs do only say up to 350m – https://en.avm.de/products/fritzbox/fritzbox-7530/technical-data/

    3. Avatar Sally says:

      @Tom that’s referring to the VDSL port. The 7530 support VDSL 35B super vectoring but that’s not available in the UK.

      WAN port supports full gigabit

    4. Avatar Simon says:

      @Sally just because the WAN port is gigabit doesn’t mean the router will be able to achieve gigabit download speeds with PPPoE and Firewall/NAT. Lots of people on the BT 900 service have issues with non-Smart Hub 2 router download speeds. I assume Zen must have tested the performance if they are recommending use of the router though.

    5. Avatar Sally says:

      @Simon, of course you are correct I was just highlighting that the 300Mb mentioned wasn’t relevant.

      I have no doubt Zen have tested the router. And indeed I’ve seen other ISPs on the continent using the 7530 with similar speeds

    6. Avatar Euan says:

      @CarlT I believe I’m on GEA but I think this is also available over WBMC if I’m not mistaken.
      @Simon, Sally – I believe the Fritzbox 7350 has been tested at full gig wanlan via the ewan port; thankfully it has the CPU grunt to manage that.

  4. Avatar Cei says:

    Also upgraded to the 900/115 service, nice and easy over the phone. £10 admin charge had to be paid and it does start a new 24 month contract.

    We were older Zen FTTP customers so were already paying £70+ for our 300/45 service, so this is a basically free upgrade!

  5. Avatar Max says:

    Just spoke with Zen as a new customer, £70 a month on 24 month contract with £55 setup fee on a exchange Zen isn’t an LLU provider on.

    Now debating if I want to fork out more or stay with BT.

    1. Avatar Mark says:

      You should probably factor in annual price increases with BT whereas Zen have a no-increase policy*

      *Though not 100% on this as this package isn’t on their website right now but as all the others on contract have this promise, I think it would be strange for this one not to.

  6. Avatar VM v Zen says:

    Virgin Media are cheaper 1Gig @ £62 a month true speed 1124/52
    Zen are expensive 1Gig @ £70 a month true speed 900/225

    1. Avatar ianh says:

      I’d rather have the higher upload rate. Honestly would pay good money for a 100/100 line. 80/20 FTTC for a while yet!

    2. Avatar Spoffle says:

      Virgin’s network isn’t great for a lot of things, and their upload is atrocious. I’m with BT 900Mb for £50, no issues at all.

    3. Avatar Mark says:

      Price isn’t the only criteria for choosing a broadband supplier and is probably one of the worst.

      For me, the quality of support and other options such as static IP addresses and IPv6 play a part.

    4. Avatar Jonny says:

      Zen sounds like a bargain when you spell it out like that

    5. Avatar VM v Zen says:

      @ianh I have to agree with you if there is BTWholesale FTTP 100/100 for around £25 a month I will take it!

    6. Avatar Luggles says:

      @Spoffle How did you manage to get 900 for £50 not £59.99?

    7. Avatar Mark says:

      @Luggles – do BT allow a full fibre without a landline as Zen do?

      I pay £10 less on Zen without a landline and I wonder if Bt do the same?

  7. Avatar CarlT says:

    Seems to be available over WBMC so should be available anywhere BT’s 900 service is.

    Well played Zen on managing to secure such competitive pricing.

  8. Avatar Dom says:

    I still think 115Mbps of upload isn’t enough. Not enough to properly share my 4K video library with my family members at least.

    1. Avatar 125us says:

      4K requires 25Mbps. It’s more likely that your machine can’t encode and serve up data quickly enough. The network isn’t your bottleneck.

    2. Avatar Dom says:

      @125us no actually my 4K videos are pure Blu-ray rips that max out at 120mbps. Now think what happens when more than one person is trying to watch it at the same time…
      Anyway transcoding HDR content (which almost all UHD Blu-rays are) completely breaks colours regardless of which media server is used).

    3. Avatar Jack says:

      I hope you’re playing the correct licencing fees for distributing that content 😉

    4. Avatar Dom says:

      @Jack
      Sure. Just like you are paying licensing fees when you lend that DVD to your mum.

    5. Avatar Sandra says:

      Maybe you should get the DVD of the law and lend it to yourself. You might find how stupid your comment is. You can’t go to Prison for lending a DVD. Doing what you are doing however..

      You’ll learn and I hope it’s the hard way

    6. Avatar osk says:

      All your family have FTTP too?

  9. Avatar FakeJake says:

    Just got off the phone with Zen. Currently have the 300Mbps package. Can confirm the prices in the other comments. The 500Mbps package is indeed cheaper than the 300Mbps. Decided to go all out though and get the 900Mbps package. £9.95 admin fee and 24 to 48 hours for the order to complete.

    1. Avatar Philip Riddell says:

      Have you had your update and are you getting 900mbps down as advertised I decided to upgrade today from 300 to 900.

  10. Avatar MichaelT says:

    I phoned as a new customer and was told that the 500Mpbs package was £55 per month with a £55 activation charge and that it was a 24 month contract. The current advertised contracts are 18 month and the sales person wasn’t falling over her-self to make a sale with any compromise. I’ll leave it a while.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      I’m not really that surprised. Margins must be pretty tight with the existing pricing: potentially even hoping for wholesale price cuts and more customers being moved to their own network in the interim.

      Don’t think Zen have ever been especially inclined towards negotiating discounts. That only really seems to be a thing once you reach Plusnet’s scale in our market.

  11. Avatar j karna says:

    I apologise for my ignorance but I have a simple question.
    Why is Openreach’s FTTP service not symmetrical?
    Community Fibre (who have their own fibre network) provide a symmetrical service.
    https://communityfibre.co.uk/

  12. Avatar L.G says:

    Zen is having issues at the moment with the system getting 900 packages to complete there orders. (issue beteen them and openreach systems)
    i have been waiting for over 7 days and still i dont have my 900 package activated yet. :(:(:(

  13. Avatar matt storey says:

    What am i missing here? BT 900 fibre is 59.99 a month. Zen is an extra £20 a month for an extra 100 down?

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