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Openreach Adopt 1 Month Terms for UK FTTP Broadband Lines

Friday, April 16th, 2021 (2:02 pm) - Score 14,376
new build house fttp openreach engineer photo

Openreach (BT) has confirmed a small but important change to their wholesale Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband product, which reduces the product’s minimum contract term from 12 months to just 1. But whether or not UK ISPs choose to pass this on to consumers is another matter entirely.

The adjustment is actually a requirement of Ofcom’s new Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26 (FTMR) and also applies to G.fast and FTTC / SOGEA services (this is nothing new for FTTC), but you had to dig through a lot of text to actually find where they mentioned it (Volume 3 – non-pricing remedies). As such we didn’t notice it, until now.

The regulator’s view is that reducing minimum contract periods promotes both wholesale and retail competition. “At a time when we are seeking to promote network competition, measures that reduce barriers to switching are desirable because they avoid the risk that Openreach locks out new competitors from gaining customers through contract prohibitions,” said Ofcom.

In a new briefing, Openreach states that the minimum contract term of their full fibre FTTP products will be reduced to 1-month “for orders connected on (or after)29th April 2021. The briefing mentions that this change also applies to FTTP on Demand (FOD) and older Fibre Voice Access (FVA) products. Previously you could only get a 1-month term on FTTP migrations, but not for new provisions.

The move represents good news, although it remains to be seen whether it has much of an impact upon the products that retail ISPs offer to consumers. Provider’s at retail level often use longer 12-24 month contract terms as a means of offering more competitively price packages and spreading their risk, which is unlikely to be changed too much by this. But we may see a rise in smaller ISPs offering monthly FTTP terms.

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15 Responses
  1. Avatar NE555 says:

    Since OR charges the ISP a £98.48 connection fee up-front, there was never a reason for a minimum term at wholesale anyway.

    However, at retail, most ISPs charge their customers little or no up-front fee – and often supply a free router too. Hence these costs have to be recouped over a contract period.

    You’d think, therefore, that charges would *fall* at the end of the contract period once those up-front costs are covered. But perversely, most ISPs *increase* their charges heavily. It’s the cause of a lot of unnecessary subscriber churn, not to mention wasted routers in landfill.

    I’d happily pay an up-front connection fee in exchange for a long-term lower monthly fee.

    1. Avatar NC says:

      Makes you wonder how Vodafone can be making any money from their FTTP broadband offering at all!

    2. Avatar Anna says:

      I pay £29,99 a month for FTTC – I paid £60 upfront and I get a free router (which I send back at the end) all 30 day contract

      I agree with you.

    3. Avatar rbb says:

      I would far rather pay a connection fee ~£50-100 and not be locked into a contract

  2. Avatar john says:

    Yeah it true as if the customer want lower cost then the isp might offer deal for long term contract than the normal standard high cost for no contract.

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Which is more viable with FTTP where the line itself is not a performance factor.

      Sure you will need to be confident in your ISP’s provisioning on a long lock in but if all is good and pricing is right then it is an option for sure.

    2. Avatar Anna says:

      My friend had his FTTP install stopped because BT had to drill a hole in the house big enough to anchor a ladder and they said no.

      I mean who fills the hole at the end of it!? apparently no one!

  3. Avatar Brian Clayton says:

    Wish it was available to us

  4. Avatar John boy Tamatea says:

    Good yes

  5. Avatar Ian Croft says:

    A “professional technology writer” was never taught to put an apostrophe before an “s” to create a plural noun

    It is “providers”

    1. Avatar John⁸ says:

      Maybe he was a grocer in a former life!

    2. Avatar 125us says:

      Apple devices often put the apostrophe in erroneously and you have to remember to go and look for ones where they shouldn’t be. Spelling and grammar checks don’t spot it, because it’s their autocorrect that put it there in the first place.

  6. Avatar Anna says:

    I am with a 30 day ISP (£60 upfront) until I can get Starlink – and even them, despite being £80 a month there is no contract. Starlink is available a mile away I am literally waiting for my cell to open. Beta testers can send the kit back at the end of the trial anyway for a full refund. so it’s a win win in the end.

    I can’t stand contracts.

  7. Avatar Ben says:

    What effect does this have on FTTPoD? Does this mean that FTTPoD lines can be re-provisioned as normal lines after the 1 month term?

  8. Avatar JP says:

    So when will this translate to 1 month FTTP services being available from ISP’s…. there is demand for this amongst my peers 🙂

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