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ISP Vodafone UK Launch Second Home Broadband Line Service

Monday, August 17th, 2020 (1:17 pm) - Score 12,001
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Vodafone UK has today become the latest major home broadband ISP, after BT (here), to launch a second line service – “Work and Play” – to help support the growing push to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis, which is only available on their Openreach (BT) based FTTCsuperfast broadband” packages.

Obviously, homes wouldn’t need a second line if we all had access to gigabit-capable (1000Mbps+), or even ultrafast (100Mbps+), broadband connections today, but that’s another story. The other reality is that second lines are nothing new and most homes allow you to run two (or sometimes more) copper lines, either via the same provider or by mixing different providers.

NOTE: There are some properties that can only support a max of one active copper line.

However, in the age of FTTC such solutions have become less common as more people now have access to faster speeds, although COVID-19 has forced many adults and families to both be working and playing together from home at the same time. As a result, some people may see the appeal of getting a second copper line setup, even if the whole idea does hark back to a previously forgotten era.

So far as we can tell Vodafone are simply offering an identical copy of their original package (no special line bonding here, sorry). In other words, for existing pay monthly mobile customers, prices start from £21 per month (35Mbps) with Vodafone Together. For new customers, without a mobile plan, prices start at £23 per month and you can alternatively take the more expensive 67Mbps package for £2 extra.

One downside of this, other than the added cost (luckily Vodafone’s service is already quite cheap.. for FTTC at least), is that you’ll need to essentially run two of the provider’s WiFi Hub routers side-by-side, which isn’t ideal for wireless network performance (i.e. the lower the congestion of your local airways, the better).

One way around the above problem might be to split the WiFi bands (i.e. only use 2.4GHz on the first router and 5GHz on the second), assuming Vodafone supports that on their kit and it makes sense for your local setup. But this is still a bit of a crude way of getting faster broadband (one that might also strain capacity at the local street cabinet). As a last catch, at present if you want a second line then there’s no online order option, so you’ll have to call Vodafone direct.

Alternatively, it might be worth taking that money and, coverage allowing, buying a 4G mobile SIM with “unlimited” data. Once again, your mileage may vary and it depends upon how such networks perform in your area, as well as the costs involved. But the redundancy of having a flexible mobile broadband solution as a backup, as well as to help with load balancing on your local network, is not to be underestimated.

Separately, Vodafone has expanded its business security services to include protection for business customers’ laptops and desktops via Trend Micro‘s new “Worry-Free” service, which is a new detection service for internet threats such as ransomware, out-of-date applications and phishing attacks etc. The service is compatible across Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices, as well as Microsoft 365, G-Suite, Box, Dropbox and Salesforce cloud services.

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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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25 Responses
  1. James™ says:

    Referring to your previous article – wouldn’t this just push the capacity of the FTTC cabinets?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes, just like any additional broadband line order does, whether for a singular connection or into the same property. I assume by this you mean port capacity rather than backhaul, as there are different considerations for both. In any case as demand rises then Openreach and ISPs always have to adapt.

  2. James™ says:

    Yeah more about port capacity in the cabinets, I know backhaul form the cabinets is Gpon or XGpon for capacity.

    1. CarlT says:

      You would be mistaken. It’s point to point Ethernet not PON for right now.

    2. James™ says:

      I’m pretty sure Neil McRae said a while ago during UKNof that it was Gpon

  3. AnotherTim says:

    Another service that gives “We are sorry – unfortunately we can not provide broadband to this address”. Not that a second sub-USO line would help much anyway.

    1. CK says:

      You might want to check your line/cabinet here: https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/

    2. AnotherTim says:

      I have actually looked into better fixed line broadband over the past 6+ years at my current address. Sub-USO is the best available. Fortunately 4G is usable for most purposes, particularly as a growing number of ISPs no longer provide any fixed line services in my area.

  4. Rob says:

    Surprised they’re not offering a variation of their business One Net solution; they have the capability.
    To be honest, I am surprised why people still use landlines when mobile is dirt cheap.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      I think people use land lines because mobile signals are not good everywhere – lots of rural locations rely on WiFi calling to make mobile calls.
      In my area the Vodafone signal is poor, and they don’t offer fixed line broadband at all.

    2. guy says:

      Mobile is not really a practical solution for everyone to ditch their fixed line service.

      Round here in my flat I can get 60Mbit/s down on 4G, roughly the same as my FTTC connection. Sounds good right? well if 5 other people round here did the same and started using it as a replacement for their landline then we’d soon find none of us would get anywhere near that speed. There’s just not that much bandwidth available.

    3. rene says:

      because the 4G speeds here are very slow. The ping is too high and it is oversubscribed. Those are just a few reasons. Ow….and it is more expensive…

  5. rene says:

    Even with a gazillion megabyte download speed you would want a second line in the UK. As the broadband service offered is atrocious. The service is going down on a regular basis, so a second line from a different provider is a must if you work ftom home.

  6. John Uncle says:

    Why would Vodafone not devote their time/energy to offering Openreach FTTP for starters??

    1. Gary says:

      Somewhat obviously, because this is available to 90 odd percent of the UK in theory, where FTTP is very much not.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      Why would Vodafone not devote their time/energy to 5g?

    3. CarlT says:

      This required very little time or effort. Really no either-or.

    4. John Uncle says:

      @Gary

      90 odd percent of the UK population do not have Superfast broadband at the advertised product speeds of 35-50Mbps though.

  7. Dave says:

    Pity vodaphone can’t keep promise and contract. Trap you into a contract then rise price and lower speed. Then tell you they will discount but you can’t leave!!

  8. Terry Downes says:

    It’s good to see a technology writer explaining how 4G could be an alternative second line. I live in a 2Mbps download area so ADSL is out of the question. With 4G and unlimited data I can reach up to 40Mbps down. My only issue with 4G is the double-NAT stopping me from making my server accessible remotely.

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Who are you with Terry? Vodafone?

  9. CK says:

    I can confirm the new router does support channel splitting…

  10. Fabrizio says:

    After experiencing 4G (Three) and 5G (Vodafone) for 1 year and 7 months respectively. One can’t rely on that type of broadband for day to day activity, especially if working from home. It’s a very temperamental connection due to various factors (masts’ distance, oversubscribing etc); I had all along a cheap ADSL connection for redundancy but I ended up relying on it more and more, so much so that I’ve now switched to a VDSL one with Sky and will be using the 5G Vodafone as a failover and the 4G three in a hotspot device when going out and about.

    For me Three was abysmal (honestly wish I never contracted myself to 24 months) and Vodafone a brilliant alternative but they’ve been updating their mast so much recently (to give them their due I’m always informed beforehand with a text, something totally lacking from Three) that if I were to have their connection as my only source then I would suffer reduced output ( today I had only 2Mbps down and 0.5Mbps because of such work ).

    I would have definitely considered a second line before 5G but I feel that what Vodafone is offering is too little too late, especially since they’re not doing line bonding. If you’re lucky to have a strong 4G/5G in your area use that for redundancy; if you’re going down the two lines route then picking two different ISPs which do not share the same backhaul/network is probably the best option hoping that if one were to go down, the other one would still be available.

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