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Openreach May Stop Selling FTTP on Demand Broadband Products

Saturday, Apr 23rd, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 24,576

In an unexpected development, Openreach (BT) has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that they are currently consulting with UK broadband ISPs on a proposal that could see a “stop sell” being placed on their sometimes troublesome FTTP on Demand (FTTPoD or FoD) product, which could potentially be introduced in late 2022.

Firstly, it’s important not to confuse the normal gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service with FoD. In a normal native FTTP rollout, Openreach foots the bill from its own pocket to install the optical fibre cable down your street, but in a FoD installation it’s the customer who chooses to pay for the expensive civil engineering side of that build (desktop quotes for this often run into the tens of thousands).

NOTE: After a FoD contract is up with an ISP, customers can switch to any normal FTTP broadband provider and package on Openreach’s network.

Put another way, FoD enables you to get a gigabit FTTP line built right to your property, even if FTTP wasn’t previously planned or natively deployed to your area. All of this sounds great, except for the high cost of building such infrastructure and the long lead times involved, which make it far too expensive for most ordinary consumers (i.e. Openreach has tended to target it more as a premium product for small businesses).

The approach taken by FoD has also found itself positioned, rather awkwardly perhaps, between solutions that inhabit the same field, which could be said to include everything from Leased Lines (Ethernet products) to Fibre Community Partnerships (FCP). Not to mention the impact of Openreach’s own FTTP rollout to 80% of UK premises by December 2026, and similar builds by rival operators (CityFibre, Virgin Media etc.).

Nevertheless, Openreach did recently move to improve the availability of FoD, and they’ve also been running trials of a potentially more attractive approach to pricing (here) – due to end on 31st May 2022 (it’s unclear what will happen to this now).

FTTPoD Still Proving Difficult

However, industry sources recently indicated to us that the network access operator intended to stop taking on new orders for FoD from 1st November 2022, with the finger of blame being pointed firmly at low take-up, high cancellations of existing orders and the need to focus resources on their wider FTTP rollout.

Officially, Openreach isn’t saying a lot, but they did confirm to ISPreview.co.uk that they’ll be talking to FoD offering ISPs over the next week in order to better understand their views on the proposed stop sell. Put another way, the stop sell approach isn’t yet set in stone and will depend, at least in part, on the feedback they receive from those providers. Nevertheless, the writing may now be on the wall.

No doubt some people would be frustrated to see FoD go because, despite being an awkward option, it was still nice to have such an option in the first place – however imperfect. Some homes and businesses did end up taking that option too, albeit not enough to make any meaningful difference to the landscape of national FTTP coverage.

The country is now slowly moving toward the goal of “nationwide” gigabit coverage by 2030 (initially reaching 85%+ by the end of 2025) and, like it or not, this will increasingly limit the prospects for a solution like FoD. As will the new generation of LEO satellites (e.g. Starlink). Openreach may simply feel it’s better to get out now and shift those resources to the native FTTP build, where they will have a greater impact.

We only wish that some of the alternative networks out there would launch a FoD-like solution to help fill the gaps, however niche they may be, that may be left if FoD does kick the bucket later this year.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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26 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Anthony Goodman says:

    To be honest I think this wont be missed. If you wanted it you’d have done it by now and it seems to have been an excuse to rip people off. I paid the £300 for a survey in 2018 and was given a quote of £20,000. My house is 400m from the FTTP point inside an estate and they wanted to dig up the whole two streets and lay ducting underground the whole way. Yet for actual regular FTTP by both CityFibre and Openreach they’ve just used the existing telegraph poles to send the cabling throughout my entire street overhead costing probably a £1000 for the cable alone.

    1. Avatar photo MrTruth says:

      “rip people off”

      People/businesses order FTTPoD by their own free will

    2. Avatar photo Anthony Goodman says:

      “People/businesses order FTTPoD by their own free will”. But if people need it and they have a monopoly and want to stick it up them. Then people get ripped off.

    3. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      fod was normally always the wrong answer to the wrong question – where as the questions should be how can my community work together to build the entire area which woudld normally be a better outcome for the communty and locality and potentialy a fod now or previously could detract or hinder a wider area build depending on how the fob was built and by whom in the first place

      i am unsurprised by this announcement

  2. Avatar photo Tony says:

    FoD is meant to be available as part of many BDUK contracts, would its removal be a breach of contract?

    1. Avatar photo MrTruth says:

      BDUK contracts are not considered as FTTPoD deployments.

    2. Avatar photo Tom says:

      MrTruth you have misunderstood the question. FoD came about partly BECAUSE of BDUK contracts, a sweetner to wow councillors etc. Written into contracts, stating that it will be available to order (subject to survey). Tony’s question is bang on – but no one here seems to know the answer.

  3. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Good riddance!

    FTTPoD are always very expensive! Not worth it!

    1. Avatar photo Shaun says:

      Says the man from Telford who once got caught telling porkies on TBB saying he’d ordered FoD. He was caught out by a Cerberus Rep who claimed he was lying outright.

  4. Avatar photo Mike says:

    I suspect Openreach wants to focus 100% on the nationwide rollout as altnets are front running them.

    If you live in the sticks a good temporary solution is 4G/Starlink.

  5. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Stop the dancing round the handbags, just lay the frigging fibre to everywhere.
    Once installed it will be giving service for the next 100 years at least, if copper is anything to go by, and in that timescale, considerations in a few cases of pricing at the margins will mean nothing then, especially when set against the increase in economic output that flows from the installation – the policy to evaluate the decision to install against the background of todays pri cing and the robustness of the balance sheets of the installer firms is puerile.

  6. Avatar photo Hungry Dog says:

    The world moves on and so it is with FTTP.

    In hindsight I’m pleased we ordered it, after the move to the then revised pricing structure in 2018. Also had the full benefit of the GBVS grant as it was then to reduce the upfront cost by around half.

    Native FTTP still doesn’t look like it’s going to get deployed locally for a few more years, so the return on investment worked out OK.

    1. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      Same situation here: very glad I had it installed in 2019, especially through lockdown. There is still no sign of native Openreach FTTP in this area, although it is being deployed in adjacent exchanges.

      The problem is, would I order it today? It can take 12 months or more to install, and native FTTP or altnet could arrive a year or two after that, so it’s a risky big spend which could easily be money down the drain.

      Opting for 2 or 3 years of Starlink is much cheaper, and will get you up and running much more quickly. It’s not gigabit, but few people really *need* that – you can just wait a minute or two longer for your huge download to complete. Where decent 4G/5G coverage is available, that’s an even cheaper option.

  7. Avatar photo Aled says:

    I have always liked the idea of buying two lengths of fibre and just running it 3km along the family farm to the main road.

    I would have to accept it would be damaged at some point and keep backups. The alternative, paying the lawyers, planning permission and 2-3 construction people to dig a trench is just painful.

    Is there any option where I can buy 3km of fibre optic and route it myself across the power poles? I would genuinely just do this myself. If it breaks it breaks, I know that, but 3km of home-bodged fibre over to the FTTP cabinet would be worth spending the whole day cobbling the thing together. What does 3km of fibre cost? The irritating thing is that actually doing the work is simple, but I’m guessing openreach would charge £10-40k.

    There is bound to be a council/safety jobsworth somewhere aching to tell me which regulation I’m breaking…

    1. Avatar photo MrTruth says:


    2. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      Nope. Openreach will require you to be pole trained and likely need to buy PIA (not really possible unless your a business) for access to the poles.

      Whoever owns your power poles will be even less enthusiastic than Openreach.

      Openreach are happy to use your duct though.

    3. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      There is bound to be a council/safety jobsworth somewhere aching to tell me which regulation I’m breaking

      you cant just buy fibre and plug it in to something and connect you going to connect it you as you need to be a communication providers as approved by ofcom for starters –

      anyone would think this fibre stuff was easy !!!!!! its hard complicated and challenging and thats the easy bits — the bits around my expertise are the hard bits

    4. Avatar photo TB says:

      Assuming you have one how does your copper line reach the farm? Is it on those electricity poles?

    5. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      ‘I have always liked the idea of buying two lengths of fibre and just running it 3km along the family farm to the main road.’

      If you’d be happy to bury 3km of ducts to Openreach standard you’ve saved yourselves a lot of money. Folks have done this.

      ‘I would have to accept it would be damaged at some point and keep backups.’

      If you’re doing it do it right and damage is unlikely – find where any other utilities are and make sure you aren’t installing above them, sign it so that no normal farm activities go over it. It’s far from cuckoo, it’s feasible.

      ‘Is there any option where I can buy 3km of fibre optic and route it myself across the power poles?’

      Absolutely not.

      ‘What does 3km of fibre cost?’

      5-10p per metre for less exciting stuff that should still work, so say £300 + splicing + connector fitting?

      Definitely look at building duct and make sure you talk to B4RN – Broadband 4 Rural North. There’s another community too that did a Community Partnership where they built ducts out. I believe fastman is aware of this and have seen it mentioned by him elsewhere.

      Hope this helps a bit and can smooth your way to full fibre. The major issue will be that it’s just you at the end of this enormous fibre run and Openreach can’t have a customer 3000 meters from the rest on the PON.

  8. Avatar photo Lee says:

    I’m deeply troubled by this announcement, if anything the ombudsman should get involved over the ridiculous prices being offered, right now but and other big groups are actively looking at not complying with the fibre to all mantra leaving huge areas of the countryside and small communities off grid plus private roads have been a huge sticking point for new residents wanting to be connected it should be llu so anyone can be connected to any isp any service fibre is fibre , but no your forced to take 3 year deals , if I’m paying for it to be put in the least i want is be tied paying for a poor isp response to problems over the years I’ve move a number of times due to job changes and family virgin were king of this leaving no roads less than 300m from a box for the last house it took until 2018 to get fttc and even then some houses were left off because of capacity existing private multi dwelling properties need fibre on demand as bt are still refusing to upgrade pots copper in the end hyperoptic did the deal with the landlord if it’s above 11mbs bt don’t want to upgrade it . Other properties designated rural suburb bt just offered 33mbs the local pub / hotel by its self was still on copper 9 mbs without fttpod my new country home just wouldn’t have been wired up the didn’t dig anything just used the poles with fibre blow pipe attached to the wire then break out box to go from 10 core to 2 for the properties the cost a ridiculous 11000 to travel half a mile down the road ordered June 2020 install Feb 2022

  9. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Im conflicted about this decision on. We ordered FTTPoD in May 2020 and are still yet to be connected 23 months later. The progress has been painfully slow with regular cancellations due to insufficient resources available on given dates and lack of available equipment being booked. It gives you a real insight into how Openreach operate. Fundamentally FTTPoD is not a consumer ready product as there are no SLAs or guarantees. There is no reason that we couldn’t be waiting another two years to get connected with very little legal recourse. Whilst it has given us an option we wouldn’t otherwise have had there needs to be more oversight if it is retained including a potential 12 month build time limit before contractual penalties begin to apply.

    1. Avatar photo TB says:

      Out of interest do you have to pay upfront or is payment on completion?

    2. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      there biggiest issue they have to reach is X million FTTP by Y date which is already announced and that gets more complicated the close to that date you get

    3. Avatar photo John says:

      You pay upfront.

      You pay for the survey upfront (£250 + vat) which is technically placing a full order.

      Upon receiving the final build quote you have 30 days to pay the remainder of the balance (minute the survey fee already paid).

      If you don’t pay then the order is cancelled and the survey fee is non refundable.

  10. Avatar photo CarlT says:

    This comments section is very hard to read with the amount of ‘Anons’, that ignoring the content of the comments, Mark.

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      As I said, Mark, ignoring the content entirely the duplication of names makes the comments hard to read, Mark.

Comments are closed

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