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Chip Shortage Delays Hit Openreach Gfast and Ethernet Installs

Monday, October 25th, 2021 (10:22 am) - Score 4,056

New UK customers of Openreach’s hybrid fibre G.fast broadband ISP and specific optical fibre (OSEA 6500 Filter Connect and OSEA Lite) products may face delays in getting related services provisioned, which comes after the operator suffered a shortage of electronic components in its supply chain (e.g. modems).

At this point we’ll assume that most of our readers will already be familiar with the ongoing issues around the global shortage of electronic components, particularly semiconductor chips, as it’s something that we’ve covered before (here) and is often in the news. So far, Openreach has done quite well to manage the impact of this, but problem areas do still exist and that’s true for other UK network operators too.

NOTE: Openreach stopped deploying G.fast at scale sometime ago (coverage of c.2.8 million premises), thus the impact of this issue for them will be limited.

As a result of these issues, Openreach recently applied a status of Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) for provision activities relating to optical services and G.fast. We should point out that the G.fast side of this only relates to installations where the modem is provided by Openreach itself. Some ISPs, such as BT, won’t be impacted by the latter because their bundled SmartHub router includes its own G.fast modem.

The MBORC statement was originally issued on 10th October 2021, although we only recently started to notice it after several UK ISPs began to inform their customers about delays to their service provisions (Openreach doesn’t usually publish MBORC notices in public).

Original MBORC Statement

Over the past few months, Openreach has been working closely with our key suppliers, in order to reduce the impact of this shortage on delivery performance for Optical Spectrum Extended Access (OSEA) and for Gfast, where modems are provided by Openreach.

However, whilst we have had success with this approach, the scale of the reduction of component supply is now impacting our ability to maintain planned delivery dates, and also to set delivery dates for new orders.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and look to remove MBORC as soon as we are able

Declaring MBORC means, among other things, that Openreach cannot be held to contractual delivery requirements (Service Level Agreements) for these services. According to a related statement from Neos Networks: “Openreach are taking action to reduce any delays, but they are currently running on average 30% behind target in planning, and in certain locations it can be significantly greater than this.”

We have asked Openreach to provide an update on the situation and will report back once we have that.

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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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15 Responses
  1. The OR jester says:

    I thought they’d put a stop on all G.Slow installations now.

    1. Sam P says:

      They did, it even says this in the article.

    2. The OR jester says:

      it says “at scale”. I thought it was all of them.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      Openreach retain G.fast as part of their toolkit and may make specific targeted deployments, if they so wish (we have seen the odd one this year). But much like VDSL2 Vectoring, for all intents and purposes G.fast is no longer being deployed in any big way.

    4. Mike says:

      I suspect there are occasions where a high percentage of properties on a cabinet can get good G.Fast speeds as they are close by and OR is taking advantage of it.

    5. NE555 says:

      They may not be *growing* the G.Fast footprint, but they’re certainly taking new orders within that footprint.

    6. A_Builder says:


      “They may not be *growing* the G.Fast footprint, but they’re certainly taking new orders within that footprint.”


  2. Phil says:

    Openreach should tell ISPs to use Zyxel G.fast router as it pretty very good as I own one of it and it work well with full stats from it with third party software called dslstats.

    Here is my full stats from my G.fast Zyxel router:

    xDSL Training Status: Showtime
    Mode: G.fast Annex A
    Traffic Type: PTM Mode
    Link Uptime: 31 days: 10 hours: 23 minutes
    xDSL Port Details Upstream Downstream
    Line Rate: 39.827 Mbps 241.883 Mbps
    Actual Net Data Rate: 39.657 Mbps 241.399 Mbps
    Trellis Coding: ON ON
    SNR Margin: 3.0 dB 3.0 dB
    Actual Delay: 0 ms 0 ms
    Transmit Power: 4.0 dBm 0.0 dBm
    Receive Power: 4.7 dBm 3.0 dBm
    Actual INP: 607.0 symbols 550.0 symbols
    Attainable Net Data Rate: 38.007 Mbps 240.880 Mbps

  3. Phil says:

    I still got Openreach G.fast Modem never use it. I put it away in the cupboard because it can’t get any stats from it. Useless. I use my own Zyxel G.fast router as it nice to have one wall socket from it with a spare socket for hoover the hallway. Openreach Modem is a waste of time cos you have to use both wall sockets one from the modem and one for the router – why use two for?

  4. Martin says:

    I know of a place where G.Fast got rolled out using an FTTdp configuration to a small place with only 4 houses in the middle of nowhere. Each house got upgraded to a 500mb/s connection from a very basic ADSL connection.

    1. John says:

      Not by OpenReach they didn’t.
      OpenReach don’t even sell 500Mb/s on G.Fast.

      OpenReach have installed mini DSLAM’s for VDSL2 in the past.
      They did similar as part of the G.Fast trials.
      They were limited to 330Mb/s though (as that’s the highest available).

  5. Phil says:

    Openreach should uncapped G.fast speed limit. If the customer end getting 650Mbps down and 75Mbps up then why wouldn’t the customer can have 650/75 then? If the cabinet are within 50m or less to benefit this speed.

    1. anonymous says:

      Increase in fault rates and problems to ISPs in how to pitch products. Much the same reasons as VDSL was capped at 80/20.

      Not changing. Openreach are building out full fibre as most know so no point in messing with what are soon to be obsolete products.

  6. Roge says:

    Just an excuse to not fulfill contractual obligations don’t believe a word,

    1. Alex says:

      Yeah believe ‘Roge’ rather than hundreds of independent media outlets reporting the global chip shortage.

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