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Zen Internet UK Reveals 900Mbps Broadband Price on Cityfibre

Monday, January 11th, 2021 (4:10 pm) - Score 15,936
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ISP Zen Internet, which late last year confirmed that would soon begin offering broadband services on part of Cityfibre’s new alternative UK Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network (here), has today revealed that they intend to charge just £40 per month for the top unlimited 900Mbps package.

At present Cityfibre is busy investing in a £4bn rollout programme for their new “full fibre” network (here and here), which currently aims to cover around 1 million premises by the end of 2021 and then 8 million across 100+ cities and towns (c.30% of the UK) – the latter target is expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of 2025 (this may well depend upon how they define ‘substantially’).

Until recently Vodafone’s related Gigafast Broadband packages were the only way you could access this, although they’ve since been joined by TalkTalk, Giganet, Zen Internet and a number of other ISPs (here). We still don’t know precisely how much all of these will charge for their related packages and availability tends to differ between providers, which adds an additional layer of confusion for consumers.

Nevertheless, Zen’s original announcement stated that the first locations to get access to their new Cityfibre-based service would be in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Worthing during January 2021, with Ipswich and Leicester expected to follow later (plus more locations joining them later in 2021).

The good news is that Zen has now launched this for c.9,000 homes in Worthing and Adur as part of their new Cityfibre based Full Fibre 900 Plus package (the local rollout aims to reach almost every home and business in the area by 2023), which costs just £40 per month – this gives you symmetric speeds of 900Mbps, unlimited usage, a pledge not to change the price at the end of your contract, a 24-month term and an included router.

The one-off setup fee for this is normally £29.99, but Zen has made this free as part of a launch promotion for all orders made before 30th June 2021. By comparison the equivalent package on Openreach’s FTTP platform from Zen, which has slower uploads of 115Mbps, is £69.95 per month (plus £54.95 setup). But Openreach’s network does have much wider availability.

Interestingly, Zen’s Cityfibre package is actually £5 per month cheaper than Vodafone’s equivalent tier, although Vodafone has tried to avoid consumer confusion by pricing their Cityfibre and Openreach plans at the same level.

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35 Responses
  1. Avatar David says:

    That’s a completitive price.

    Great to see some new national wholesale options coming along. Will be interesting to see how Openreach react once City Fibre build up a decent market share.

    1. Avatar Billy nomates says:

      i know rite. i’m paying virgin media the same amount for 350/10.
      Is cityfibre synchronous too ?

    2. Avatar Anna says:

      Billy yes – same up as down

  2. Avatar Pezza says:

    Bloody hell!! Is that unlimited use as well? It’s like MVNO pricing for silly data amounts, cheap as chips.

    1. Avatar Ross says:

      I’m in Ipswich and can’t wait to get this and be away from virgin

  3. Avatar SimonM says:

    Take my money.

    And more importantly install CityFibre in my area too.

    1. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Join the club Simon……oh but to dream….

  4. Avatar Rich says:

    Christ, at the rate cityfibre are installing, they could be a true competitor to BTOR in every town and city. It feels like their projected footprint must be larger than VM?

    Honestly interested in how BTOR attempt to compete, yes they offer gigabit but not symmetric and at a crazy price…

    1. Avatar FTTHopeful says:

      I wonder how long BT/OR will rely on their asymmetric GPON tech, and whether they’ll eventually switch to a symmetrical tech like XGS-PON. Competition can only be a good thing, and pricing as cheap as this for the (seemingly) top package is very impressive.

      We might be behind at the moment, but hopefully we’ll catch up sometime soon – and the rate at which CF and OR + altnets are going it may well be possible.

  5. Avatar André says:

    Are Cityfibre using XGS-PON?

    1. Avatar FTTHopeful says:

      I would also like to know this.

      This page says that CityFibre use GPON too, but states that they have a lower split ratio of 8:1 rather than OR’s 32:1, so there’s more potential capacity per subscriber.

      https://www.giga.net.uk/what-is-gpon/

      Whether there’s more up-to-date info I am not sure.

    2. Avatar André says:

      Did a bit of digging. It would appear they’re deploying NG-PON2.
      They’re clearly investing in state of the art tech in a bid to make their network last as long as possible.
      OR seem to be taking the approach of using cheaper tech but reaching more premises.

    3. Avatar John says:

      I’ve only seen GPON ONT’s on CityFibre.

      News to me.

    4. Avatar Rich says:

      It’s gpon, they trialled ngpon2.

      The ONTs they are using are these:

      https://www.calix.com/content/calix/en/site-prod/library-html/systems-products/prem/op/an-mops/an/800g-gp-an/index.htm?toc.htm?88696.htm

      Calix 801Gv2 GigaPoint ONT, only supports GPON.

    5. Avatar Not So Fast says:

      CityFibre use GPON. You can tell from the ONTs in use.

      The OLTs may support NG-PON2 line cards but they aren’t fitting them right now. No point.

      Not so sure about that maximum 8:1 split ratio either.

    6. Avatar Rich says:

      It’s gpon not ngpon2. They did some ngpon2 trials.

      The ONTs they are using are Calix 801Gv2 GigaPoints.

      These only support gpon.

      Datasheet here: https://www.calix.com/content/calix/en/site-prod/library-html/systems-products/prem/op/an-mops/an/800g-gp-an/index.htm?toc.htm?88696.htm

    7. Avatar John says:

      32:1 on CityFibre.
      Might use higher splits but definitely not less.

      The number of Splitters required for 8:1 is, well it’s 1 for every 8 homes passed minimum.
      Costly and takes up valuable real estate.

      32:1 GPON same as OpenReach AFAIK.

    8. Avatar FTTHopeful says:

      Apologies for confusion, it appears the 8:1 ratio is for businesses only. 32:1 ratio is used for residential by CityFibre.

      Sources used:

      https://www.cityfibre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CF-Fact-Sheet_FTTH-Consumer-FTTH_Jan-2018.pdf

      https://wholesale.cityfibre.com/opinion/2017/09/27/entanet-gigabit-passive-optical-network-gpon/

    9. Avatar Not So Fast says:

      ‘The number of Splitters required for 8:1 is, well it’s 1 for every 8 homes passed minimum.’

      The number of OLT ports are a bigger deal.

      Splitters are tiny and cheap cassettes. GPON SFPs aren’t so cheap and only so many can go into each chassis.

      CityFibre splitters are in cabinets alongside ODFs so not a big deal.

  6. Avatar Jim says:

    It’s great for Cityfibre who don’t have to maintain a huge network of ducts and poles that Openreach do. They get to use and abuse someone else’s network for a much lower price

    1. Avatar André says:

      Pretty sure they pay OR to use the ducts.
      Wouldn’t you say that’s a much better arrangement overall, rather the squandering money to duplicate infrastructure, as well as all the disruption inevitably caused by the build?

    2. Avatar Not So Fast says:

      Nearly all of CityFibre’s network is their own ducts with a few of their own poles and some renting of Openreach assets.

      Mostly their own stuff, though. For operators using almost 100% Openreach infrastructure look at OFNL and toob.

  7. Avatar chris conder says:

    gotta love these altnets. Go cityfibre and Zen (a great ISP)

  8. Avatar Doofus says:

    Slightly off topic but when BT was privatised I assume it was forced to lease it’s lines to the likes of Sky, etc., So, how come Virgin Media don’t lease their coax out to other companies too?

    1. Avatar not me says:

      because Virgin didn’t use public money to build the network

    2. Avatar The Facts says:

      @nms – wrong. Because they don’t have Significant Market Power? You word you need is ‘wholesale’.

  9. Avatar Searedjaguar says:

    I think at the end of the fixed price period cityfibre should be installed and I will leave virgins expensive giga package and go for a true full fibre even if I am losing 100meg which I don’t need.. my devices can only just reach 900 at a push. Also I save £20 (or more at the end of the fixed price period), this makes me happy to see actual competition here for once.

  10. Avatar Scottie says:

    Hopefully Zen will drive cost reductions to their own packages on the Openreach network . Openreach heavily offered discounts to all the major providers – not sure how much of these being passed on.
    Given OFCOM restrictions on BT I doubt costs can be reduced to a level to match CFH but they will not make any money for along time .

    1. Avatar 5G_Infinity says:

      Fibre is a long term bet – institutional funds see this as a 25 year play with a possible break clause at year 10 or 15. So returns will be thin but will last a long time, while the cost of money is low (0.5%) then it makes sense to invest. returns on fibre only need to be 8% minimum for a pension fund to be happy, much better than property at the moment.

  11. Avatar Shaun says:

    Now just need to get out of my Virgin contract with pathetic upload!

  12. Avatar Hereford says:

    Zzoomm – Take note, £40 for a symmetrical 900mbps connection. Zzoomm your £69 for your equivalent service is far too much.

    1. Avatar James™ says:

      They are a smaller Alt-Net to be fair, and are building the service themselves.

  13. Avatar Ben says:

    Do Virgin provide a static IP on their CityFibre product? (I’d be surprised if they didn’t, but I can’t see any mention of it on the product page)

    1. Avatar James™ says:

      This isn’t Virgin :/

    2. Avatar Ben says:

      Sorry – no idea why I wrote Virgin when I meant Zen! Anyway, the answer to my question is “yes”: https://twitter.com/zeninternet/status/1349086051902644227?s=19

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