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BT Launch UK Ethernet FTTP Service for Wholesale Customers UPDATE

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 (10:54 am) - Score 12,240

BT Wholesale, which supplies broadband and data connectivity services to UK ISPs, has today launched a new Ethernet Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service for businesses that offers uncontended connections, “ultra-low latency“, installs within 5 days (existing ONT, otherwise c.11 days) and speeds up to 1Gbps.

On a normal consumer orientated “full fibreFTTP broadband line capacity tends to be shared, which makes it more affordable for homes and smaller businesses. After that those with bigger demands would normally be expected to consider a dedicated Ethernet (leased line) style service, but Ethernet FTTP somewhat bridges the gap between those and is being targeted at mid-larger businesses.

Arguably BTW needs a product like EFTTP (from the premise to the nearest Ethernet node) in order to better respond to the competitive threat from the rise of alternative fibre networks, particularly players like Cityfibre that have been increasingly eating into their business connectivity market with often cheaper solutions.

Paul Beacham, Senior Manager at BTW, said:

“As the UK prepares for the withdrawal of the analogue PSTN network in 2025 and begins to migrate towards fully digitised networks, businesses need future-proofed connectivity solutions that support their digital transformation journeys and their demand for greater bandwidth and speed. BT is at the forefront of this technology shift, bringing the market-leading Ethernet FTTP solution to the Wholesale market to join our full range of all-IP access solutions available – all underpinned by the best fixed network in the UK.

Today’s announcement also reinforces BT Group’s ongoing investment in full fibre. We’re committed to growing our FTTP coverage across the UK and are accelerating our FTTP build to reach 20 million premises by the mid-to-late 2020s. With Ethernet FTTP, we’re responding to increasing customer needs for network speeds and reliability, supporting that demand better than any other network provider.”

The new service will of course be linked to Openreach’s on-going deployment of FTTP and thus currently claims to have coverage of over 80,000 business (and rapidly growing). Unfortunately, what today’s announcement doesn’t make clear is how much the new service costs, although as a wholesale product it will be more important to consider that from the ISPs (retail) perspective, once related packages become available.

UPDATE 24th Sept 2020

Some people wanted to know how BTW sets this up to be uncontended on their FTTP platform, so we asked for a bit more detail.

A spokesperson for BTW told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Each connection is provided with a dedicated fibre line into the premises. However, FTTP in the Openreach domain is passed across a network that can be contended at the PONS and splitter. Each service is built using a separate VLAN which is dedicated to the service connection. FTTP has both prioritised and peak rates with the prioritised rate behaving like a dedicated product.

In relation to Ethernet FTTP, BT Wholesale are using separate Cablelink infrastructure to connect the Openreach L2 switch to our BT 21CN Ethernet switch than we use for our Broadband portfolio infrastructure. This way we can ensure contention decisions can be separated between Broadband and Ethernet.”

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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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22 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    Was bound to happen.

    Presumably this is a symmetric product?

    Will sell well if prices sensibly as most offices don’t need leased but need more upstream. And where there is no Hyperoptic or Comminity Fibre / City Fibre……as I suspect it won’t compete on price.

    1. Paul M says:

      Uplink speed is my biggest problem. FTTC on a long phone line gets me only just over 5Mbps 🙁

      It’s made more frustrating that the other side of the road gets FTTP. I have utterly failed to get OpenReach to even discuss laying a 10 metre duct.

    2. Andros says:

      Wont the neighbours share 😉 🙁

  2. Phil says:

    Is this installed as a different fibre (using spares) and disconnection from the splitter that everyone else is connected to? Must be if it uses the same ONT, otherwise it would be contended?

    1. A_Builder says:

      Not if it was on a different Lambda?

    2. CarlT says:

      Uncontended means no visible contention. No ISP nails up all their leased lines’ capacity, they manage capacity via running a network that never maxes out or use QoS to ensure customers see no contention.

      All networks have some sharing at some point, the bigger the pipe in the core the more it’s oversubscribed as a rule as statistical contention can be made to work harder.

      They’ll be providing services that fall within the Openreach performance guarantees and from there the guarantees within their own network.

      They could sell symmetrical services at relatively low rates or could sell lines with the guaranteed speed and a much higher ‘burst’ speed.

      It’s actually exactly what TalkTalk do with their EoFTTC product.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      Answered this in the updated article above as I was a little curious too about BTW’s exact approach. No surprises in this but it’s good to share.

    4. Phil says:

      @CarlT, They are selling an uncontended service, that means you get what you order in speed all the time without contention, otherwise it is a contended service! Obviously, contention will happen outside of the ISPs control, that isn’t what we are talking about.

      So your long winded replay is: They use the existing GPON and the service is provisioned like any other and so will possibly see contention, so they are mis-advertising this product as uncontended and the terms and conditions will be a clause with a lower speed guarantee, i.e contention, seems unlikely to me.

      So if they deploy it over GPON that is well subscribed, perhaps by other businesses so during the working day all these businesses are doing stuff online, with 2.5/1.25 of bandwidth being shared between up to 32 properties, how will they provide an uncontended connection for these products over FTTP? If the GPON is showing signs of contention, no problem for those on normal products as their speed guarantees are lower than the “headline” product speed they have ordered. For those ordering the uncontended product, seeing any sort of contention on the ISPs network (which is how it will appear) is not acceptable, you don’t buy an uncontended service and accept contention happening at that level, neither will the ISP. Openreach can’t use QoS, as to do that means all the other customers of other ISPs on that GPON are going to see an even bigger drop in performance just so that several other customers remain uncontended. What if those other customers being businesses suddenly decide they also need an uncontended product due to the slowdowns and upgrade?

      Given the mentioned 5 day lead time for those with an existing ONT kind of made me wonder if they are going to be splicing in spare fibres from the start? They could of course just chance it with the existing GPON and later upgrade those customers needing an uncontended connection later if it starts showing some strain, but that would result in some down time for those businesses paying presumably a lot more for a better graded product whilst that work takes place a few months later for example, and causes all sorts of complaints and management issues.

      If anyone knows or if Mark could get ask the question, would be interesting to know.

    5. CarlT says:

      My reply is exactly what I said, Phil, which Mark has kindly confirmed.

      They can and are selling products as uncontended up to the Openreach prioritised rate with burst options up to gigabit.

      As you’ll note from the existence of the prioritised rate Openreach can and do use QoS to provide maximum and minimum data rates. That minimum can be used to provide an uncontended service at that level.

      Nothing really exciting there.

    6. CarlT says:

      PS When I mentioned ISPs not nailing up capacity on their networks I meant it. I didn’t mean on the wider network.

      The quality of service across the BTW network will be assured via QoS being higher than for broadband alongside capacity management to try and ensure minimal, if any, use of that QoS.

      No ISP has enough bandwidth to guarantee, 100%, data rates to their leased line customers without such mechanisms.

  3. Mark says:

    Is this likely to come to places without FTTP already, and where DSL is slow? i.e. the last 4% without superfast 24Mbps+

    1. CarlT says:

      No. It relies on Openreach FTTP being available.

    2. GNewton says:


  4. CarlT says:

    The link from the front page of the BT Wholesale website is broken.


    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      They must have heard you and now it’s fixed.

  5. Richard Reece says:

    pointless because this link https://www.btwholesale.com/products-and-services/data/fttp-over-ethernet.html doesn’t work. useless btw

  6. Jonny says:

    This is a positive development, can see it being popular.

  7. André says:

    Curious to see whether other ISPs take this up and how much it’ll cost.

  8. Cool Breeze says:

    It’s scandalous that many small businesses in industrial estates in a city like London still can’t get FTTC even, let alone FTTP.

  9. Sam says:

    This sounds vaguely similar to what Giganet do in Hampshire with their UltraBeam+ products.
    I’m getting mine installed soon, and from what I gather they basically have a Openreach Ethernet product installed into the home/business but as they’ve unbundled the exchange they then take things from there and run it more like a business broadband connection but with low contention.
    Costing me about £300 a month for symmetrical gigabit, used a government voucher to cover the install costs but it’s not gpon getting installed it’s point to point (from what I can tell).

  10. Dan says:

    Does the shared FTTP broadband use Ethernet, just wondered as virgin uses analog fibre.

    1. CarlT says:

      Virgin use Ethernet as well.

      Ethernet rides over digital or analogue signaling, it’s higher up the protocol stack.

      GPON FTTP is digital I believe.

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