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CityFibre Launch 1.2Gbps FTTP Home Broadband Tier for UK ISPs

Thursday, Oct 19th, 2023 (10:48 am) - Score 6,056

CityFibre has today added a new “True Gig” 1.2Gbps wholesale broadband product for UK ISPs on its growing Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, which, much like Openreach’s similar 1.2Gbps pilot, will enable retail providers to advertise true 1000Mbps speeds to consumers.

The idea of selling a slightly faster tier to get around advertising rules is nothing new – Virgin Media (VMO2) often does this on their own platform. Due to this, a lot of ISPs that take 1000Mbps products at wholesale actually end up advertising them as 900Mbps because of the ASA’s rules, which require ISPs to display the median speed as measured at peak time (50% of customers must be able to get this).

NOTE: CityFibre’s network currently passes 3 million UK homes, although it’s only ‘Ready for Service’ for consumers at 2.7m. The operator aims to cover 8m by the end of 2025 (here).

In other words, by selling 1.2Gbps at wholesale, CityFibre will be hoping that ISPs can then correctly promote this alongside a true 1Gbps speed (although some smaller ISPs will just ignore this and promote it as 1.2Gbps) – provided that their own backhaul arrangements and in-premises equipment also supports this, but we’ll come back to that last point.


The 1.2Gbps product will benefit from symmetrical download and upload speeds when served over CityFibre’s latest XGS-PON network. Where its network is yet to be upgraded from GPON to XGS-PON, a variant with 1Gbps upload speeds is provided as an interim alternative (i.e. 1.2Gbps download and 1Gbps upload). Both variants provide upload speeds over eight times faster than those available from Openreach’s fastest FTTP broadband service.

Dan Ramsay, Chief Marketing Officer at CityFibre, said:

“As the builder of the UK’s largest independent full fibre network, CityFibre helped introduce the UK to the concept of the Gigabit, so it’s a privilege to be able to now launch a ‘True Gig’ service to our partners. This will give them the confidence to advertise their services as Gigabit Speed and will encourage even more people to join the full fibre revolution.”

One small issue here is that a lot of consumer broadband routers may only have 1Gbps Ethernet (LAN/WAN) ports, and overheads on this often push real-speeds down to a max of c.960-980Mbps, thus those taking the 1.2Gbps tier are likely to need both a new Optical Network Terminal (ONT) and router in their homes with a faster 2.5G LAN port in order to fully benefit from speeds above 1Gbps. CityFibre’s ISPs (e.g. Vodafone) are already doing something similar with their 2.5Gbps wholesale tier.

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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 Jordan says:

    Mark, im guessing the only isp left is Virgin to do 2gbps plan now. All these companies now doing over 1gbps nice to see.

    1. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      Virgin have had a 2gbps package in progress for a while. Unsuprisingly they are keeping their cards close to their chest, launching higher speeds on legacy DOCSIS is more difficult for them than Cityfibre launching on their XGS PON bits of network so Virgin always keep a little ahead of competition rather than risk speeding up competitors plans and being left later unable to compete till their own XGS network is in place.

      The hub 5x has a 10gbps port suggesting that Virgin has big plans for multi gig packages, being more vertically integrated than Cityfibre and Openreach allows them to launch faster profiles quicker.

      Also interesting to note the one box solution Virgin have adopted for XGS PON compared to the two box (ONT + router) which competitors have adopted. For Cityfibre and Openreach ONT swaps are an item which they can bill their partner ISPs so ONT swaps aren’t a concern while VM’s ONT built inside the router allows the customer to easily self upgrade as VM being the residential ISP foot the bill.

    2. Avatar photo APJ says:

      Virgin Media Ireland has been selling the 2 gig product for months now.

  2. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    Would this need 2.5GB Ethernet ports. As I am guessing (hoping to be corrected) gigabit ethernet ports on Routers and PCs would not support 1.2GB/s?

    1. Avatar photo Anthony says:

      I stopped reading at the quote thinking this was the end of the article. Sorry. Seen it now that they don’t support it

    2. Avatar photo Carlos says:

      Even Gigabit Ethernet is limited to around 900 – 940Mbps real world speeds.

    3. Avatar photo Rod Smith says:

      The router that Yayzi (CityFibre) are supplying for 1.2Gb, 2Gb and 2.5Gb has 1x 2.5Gb WAN and 1×2.5Gb Ethernet LAN (plus 3x GigE LAN) as well as having AX6000 WifI6 (2400Mpbs max connection speed, realworld it depends!) https://service-provider.tp-link.com/wifi-router/ex820v/

      Higher end PC motherboards have had 2.5Gb Ethernet for severall years and USB3 and PCIe card adapters are £20-30. 2.5Gb Ethernet switches are slowly coming down in price starting around £65 (VMIN 4 x 25Gb, 2 x 10Gb SFP Amazon UK). Aliexpress is cheaper and has 8 x 2.5Gb switches from £65.

    4. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      The only problem is smart switch having more than five 2.5Gbit ports in reasonable price. Mikrotik CRS310-8G+2S+IN is +£200.

  3. Avatar photo Suan says:

    Just wish CF would start laying fibre again in my part of Bath..

    1. Avatar photo mike says:

      That’s not allowed until they finish their build in Norwich

  4. Avatar photo Rich says:

    “Launched” but nobody will sell me it.

  5. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

    “As the builder of the UK’s largest independent full fibre network”

    Really? Has Openreach been bought by the state? Thought OR covered 15 million https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2023/05/openreach-add-10-new-uk-locations-to-fttp-broadband-rollout.html
    Which is more than their 2.7million

    Granted the millions passed by VM only have 1.6m classes as full fibre https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/07/virgin-media-o2-add-114000-new-premises-to-uk-fttp-coverage.html

  6. Avatar photo Justin says:

    Yes, sounds great but then you realise Cityfibre very rarely fully complete any builds. Loads of fibre laid in the ground, sitting unused.

    Now they’ve packed up and moved onto rural areas, concentrating on the Project Gigabit builds, subsidised by the Government.

    A company in chaos.

  7. Avatar photo Get real... says:

    Let’s be serious.

    Firstly there’s not many households that really need or are willing to pay for internet connections speeds of 1Gbps or more.

    Secondly, the hardware readily available, at a reasonable price to handle speeds of >1Gbps is not available.

    I’m afraid these announcements of launching 1Gbps services, aimed at home broadband users, are simply just fancy marketing gimmicks, that in the real world aren’t viable.

    1. Avatar photo James™ says:

      Yup but if they can sell it then why not – There is a market for faster speeds but you’re correct that the average Joe on his on probably doesn’t need it. But some of us nerdy homelab guys would like it for the sake of it hah

    2. Avatar photo Rich says:

      What are you on about, plenty of motherboards have come with 2.5g nics for ages, and 2.5g usb-c adaptors are cheap.

    3. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      “Firstly there’s not many households that really need or are willing to pay for internet connections speeds of 1Gbps or more.” 1Gbps is cheaper than 80/20 FTTC in some cases..

      “I’m afraid these announcements of launching 1Gbps services, aimed at home broadband users, are simply just fancy marketing gimmicks, that in the real world aren’t viable.” Really!? SO if you are on FTTC and paying over £30 a month you wouldn’t jump at the change to have 1Gbps for £29?

      Or pay £50 for 2.5Gbps? I am personally glad I could sign up to Yayzi.. Just cut my internet bill by a few hundred a month. You have no idea what the alternatives cost clearly.

      Still had a good laugh which I needed so thanks for that 🙂

    4. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:


      “There is a market for faster speeds but you’re correct that the average Joe on his on probably doesn’t need it”

      You’d be surprised how many Average Joe’s and Joanne’s jumped at the chance to get FTTP when I used to do sales as Plusnet. I mean literally some people wanted it only for the reliability more than the speed. They were on 3MB Adsl and always getting faults and wanted to get rid of that headache.

      Of all the sales I did over the last 2 years I’d say around 85% were “average joes”

  8. Avatar photo Graeme says:

    Get the UK up to standard instead of flaunting such slow speeds that other countries have had the capacity for the past 2 decades…

  9. Avatar photo Julian says:

    The demarcation point is the ONT, therefore if the ONT can’t support 1.2gbps, it can’t be sold as such.

    1. Avatar photo James™ says:

      New ONT has a 2.5GbE

  10. Avatar photo fsociety3765 says:

    I was told the CityFibre ONT LAN port is 1.5Gbps. I’mwith Zen and on the 900Mbps service. As soon as they offer this I will upgrade straight away for sure. And also upgrade to the 2.5Gbps service once they offer that. I assume with that one they would have to provide an updated ONT.

    Their website doesn’t mention anything about it so far though.

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      The ONT Ethernet port will be 1G, 2.5G or 10G those are the only options with Ethernet.

      My understanding is all the CityFibre XGS-PON ONTs are at least 2.5G, their older GPON ones 1G. So if you have an old one it will need updating to their newer 2.5G one.

    2. Avatar photo Yorkiebar says:

      10G ethernet ONTs are fitted as standard on all new installs and upgrades. If you have an Adtran or Calix unit fitted it’s probably 10G ready now .

  11. Avatar photo Mike says:

    Not really worth upgrading entire network for an extra 200Mbps imo.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Presume you mean home network.

      Future-proofing. No upgrade needed now for the next step.

      Skipped 2.5 entirely here due to cost and practicality. 2.5 makes more sense now than 3 years ago.

Comments are closed

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