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ISP BT Trials New Kit to Make Home Broadband More Reliable

Sunday, September 13th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 5,243
bt broadband logo official

UK ISP BT has begun inviting customers to a new “Hub Equipment” trial, which is due to start at the end of September 2020 and proposes to test a “a new piece of kit that works with your BT Home Hub” (or Smart Hub router) and “makes your broadband even more reliable.”

The description is admittedly pretty vague, although after a little digging we now think we know what this might be. We know that, internally, BT have been working on trying to change the customer focus from speed and price to reliability and one way to do that is by updating their current HALO add-on.

One feature of the premium HALO service is BT’s Keep Connected Promise, which among other things pledges to “get you back online quickly” if your fixed broadband line stops working. The main way in which they do that is by sending out a 4G based Mini Hub (Mobile Broadband based WiFi Router) at no extra cost.

The trial is thus expected to test a newer version of the Mini Hub, which will deliver better performance and support more devices (we don’t yet know if they intend to add 5G). The device may thus also help to support BT’s evolving move toward a “hybrid” all-IP network, where internet connectivity between mobile and fixed line broadband services will become almost seamless.

At present if you want the 4G Mini Hub then you generally have to wait for an outage before you can request it, but BT’s future approach may change this so that the Mini Hub, Smart Hub router and WiFi Mesh kit (repeaters) are all shipped out at the same time, ready for use.

As part of the trial, we may provide you with a new Hub and/or an additional piece of equipment to use with the Hub. As well as the extra equipment, we’ll also cover the cost of your entire bill for the duration of the trial, subject to you filling in a few surveys when asked,” said BT’s trial invite to customers. You can see a picture of BT’s current 4G Mini Hub below.


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Mark Jackson
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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11 Responses
  1. Avatar Fabrizio says:

    When I was with Vodafone their hun had a usb socket in a hidden compartment and the dashboard had a section for 3G/4G apn section but apparently it didn’t work. So they probably had the intention in the near future to have a dongle supplied with a Vodafone sim to allow failover. It’s the way to go, I guess for avoiding complaints during outages.

  2. Avatar Mark says:

    I’ve been invited onto this trial and it is indeed very vague. I’m assuming the 4g router will run separately from the bt hub and be used in conjuction with the halo WiFi repeaters?

  3. Avatar Barry Wilkinson says:

    My neighbour was sent one recently when his copper broadband connection failed. He did explain to them that he could not receive mobile connections from any service provider at his home. They sent one anyway! He had to wait for the copper fault to be fixed before getting broadband back.

    1. Avatar Burble says:

      gf was wandering around the garden today trying to get a text to go on EE, a 4g won’t be much good for us.

  4. Avatar joe says:

    “The trial is thus expected to test a newer version of the Mini Hub, which will deliver better performance and support more devices (we don’t yet know if they intend to add 5G). ”

    Seems a bit pointless if they don’t add 5g they might as well wait and do it properly…

  5. Avatar James™ says:

    Hopefully they will have some kind of new mesh system with a mobile 4G/5G built in!

  6. Avatar Stew0961 says:

    I’ve had an invite too but we can’t get the EE signal in our Village plus it’s very vague with info so I’ve passed on this one.
    Last time I was on they put me on a new 24 month contract when infact I was half way through a 18 months contract.

  7. Avatar Marty says:

    I’ve been on their Fibre 2 HALO package and is isn’t the worth the paper it’s written on. I’ve checked the home equipment yet they seem intent to blame it on me even with intermittent problems on there end. It’s just another way to extorting money from the consumer as can have the same speed fibre 2 at a cheaper and lower price.

    1. Avatar Onephat says:

      Agreed. The £10 or so a month extra they charge you can quickly buy you a better third party solution.

  8. Avatar Matt says:

    I was expecting it to come at one point and I’m glad it’s finally happening. I wonder if it will eventually evolve into a “hybrid hub” where mobile and fibre modems are built in single box or they will keep it separate.

    One downside of this is that that rural areas usually won’t be able to take advantage of this

    1. Avatar gary says:

      Unless it had been some SciFy plug in cable repair nanobot device then it’s not going to help reliability of old decaying lines like mine and as Matt says a 4g failover isnt much help unless theyre installing an external antenna up on my roof, as thats where i had to put the Microtik.

      Somewhat ironic that i’d get a better service from them if there was a fault and it switched to 4G than I do off the actual line.

      While it’s interesting and maye useful for some, it seems like an expensive ‘solution’

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