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Openreach Extend UK 1.2Gbps and 1.8Gbps FTTP Pilot into 2024 UPDATE

Thursday, Nov 30th, 2023 (1:41 pm) - Score 9,000
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Network access provider Openreach (BT) has just announced that their ISP pilot of faster Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband tiers, which pushes top download speeds to 1.2Gbps and 1.8Gbps (both offer 120Mbps upstream), has been extended yet again until 29th February 2024.

The original pilot started in December 2022 (here) and was due to run until 31st March 2023, but Openreach later extended it to run until 31st July 2023 (here) and at the same time expanded the availability of the tiers from their Swansea (Wales) exchange to also include exchanges in Ipswich (Suffolk). After that, they extended it again to 30th September 2023 (here) and added various exchanges in Northern Ireland.

NOTE: The operator’s £15bn full fibre network currently covers over 12 million premises and aims to reach 25m by December 2026 (80%+ of the UK).

However, once September arrived, Openreach were quick to extend the pilot yet again for another three months until 31st December 2023 (here). The operator never clarified if there had been any changes, but we know they extended its availability nationwide because EE recently became the first ISP to launch a package (1.6Gbps) based off the new tier (here) – most providers usually wait until post-pilot to launch.

The bad news today is that Openreach has issued another vague update (here), which extends the pilot for another couple of months until 29th February 2024. We are currently trying to clarify the reason for this latest extension and will report back in due course, hopefully sometime this afternoon. But it may be because they need to test with a minimum number of live circuits before completing the pilot (EE’s package may help).

The service, once out of pilot, will be accompanied by two new optical modems (ONT / ONU) – the Nokia G-010G-T and ADTRAN SDX 611Q (pictured), both with 2.5Gbps LAN / Ethernet ports. So even if you already have an ONT from Openreach, then those who order one of these faster tiers will attract another engineer visit to put the new kit into place. ISPs will also need to supply more capable routers.

Part of the challenge is that Openreach currently use a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON), which places limitations on how fast they can go before capacity becomes an issue. GPON supports a capacity on each trunk line of up to 2.5Gbps downstream and 1.24Gbps upstream, which needs to be shared between several premises. This makes what they’re trying to do a bit harder, especially given their strong take-up (currently 33%).

At present the fastest FTTP download tier available to consumers on their network is 1Gbps (115Mbps upload for homes and 220Mbps for business lines) and those GPON limitations are the main reason why Openreach may not wish to push uploads much beyond what already exists. The operator did once have a plan to adopt 10Gbps capable XGS-PON technology, but they’ve been silent on that for a long time.

UPDATE 1:49pm

Just a small detail, but it’s worth noting that premises covered by Openreach’s now somewhat ancient ECI kit (mostly a few tens of thousands of premises in places like Cornwall) are not yet able to access the new tiers. The old ECI kit currently still limits the operator’s network in those areas to a top speed of 330Mbps.

UPDATE 3:43pm

Openreach has informed us that the pilot is going to plan and they just need to finish testing the full range of order types across different geographies in the UK. “We hope to complete our testing soon and proceed to full launch thereafter,” added the operator.

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Mark-Jackson
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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83 Responses
  1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    I’ll say it again. Never ending Pilots from BT. Whilst others just do it, BT pilot it for years.
    It will be old hat by time of general release. It’s all because they know they are sweating GPON capabilities so make it look like you are doing stuff until you’ve actually sorted out underlying legacy network. Nothing difficult about swapping an older ONT out by end customer, popping the old into returns jiffy bag and posting back. VM will likely have 2.2gbps on their old HFC network before time BT go into full steam and other ALTNETS already offering 2-10gbps right now.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Except those altnets need to survive. No point deploying 10gbit if it’s not sustainable. BT won’t be going anywhere, and their takeup is superb in comparison.

      I would imagine they want more info from the impact people on the new tier has on the rest of the user base – but it’d be nice if BT confirm a reason for extending.

      BT are expensive but you do get a decent service / support for it in my experience.

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Matt
      I agree. Ive had no issues with BT FTTP in 3 years and its always full speed you get what you pay for. Those altnets may sound cheap but can you really trust they will still be around for years? Even Cityfibre is looking for a buyer.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      symmetric or asymmetric service. I’d rather symmetric than the severely capped BT service. And a number of ALTNETS give good service – check reviews. I’ve had appalling service from BT before, whether at call handling stage or engineer stage. Back to the point in hand though – long, long, long trials with BT whilst others just do it.

    4. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Not really true.
      Most Altnets dont have over 10 million customers to make sure they get it right. Altnets tend to have in the thousands of customers so it doesnt matter if they make a mistake compared to BT. Look at VM also they have been testing 2gigs for years and its still not ready. I noticed you said ‘a number of altnets’ which shows you know fine rightly what we are talking about. Not all.

    5. Avatar photo Winston Smith says:

      Re VMs 2.2 Gbps trials, as they started a few years ago, VM may have concluded that insufficient people would actually ever saturate the download due to lack of 2.5Gbe or faster ports on domestic kit.

    6. Avatar photo Vince says:

      Yeah, and if you had to deal with the horrific shambles that is most altnet setups for provisioning and support, you’d know why Openreach does stuff a lot slower but generally speaking does a much better job even with the quirks they have overall.

      Plus, I don’t anticipate Openreach to get bought out, closed down, go bust, merged, etc so there’s half a chance the work you do to document, support, integrate won’t be a waste of time.

      Sure they’re not the most rapid, but they’re handling a lot more scale than these altnets and have a lot more people to work with and aren’t building something that just needs to work long enough to make a venture capitalist investor happy and needs to actually work for years, maybe even decades.

    7. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Here we go again.
      There are people on here who seems to be want rid of the Alt Nets, don’t they want competition? Sure, some may go, but someone will no doubt buy up their network. One of the reason I was a bit worried about As for reliability, sure Openreach have got that, but then look at all the years they have had to get it right and also the amount of money they have taken over the years with phone services and broadband services. With all that money, if they can’t get it right, then we are doomed.

      My partner have been on an altnet (gigaclear) for over 18 months, she has never had a problem, well not with the network, the problem she had was internal, mainly wi-fi.

      While I have had a few problems with Zzoomm since I have been on it, things seemed to have calmed down now. New network, I suppose there is bound to be teething problems.

      I am glad I choose Zzoomm now, well at the moment I am, but then if Zzoomm was not here I would still be on FTTC as I would not see the point in changing if I was still on the Openreach network.

      We need competition and I am glad we have got it at last, give openreach something to think about and they must be a little bothered, some people are getting leaflets from openreach, I have never known Openreach to do that, it is normally ISPs that do that.

      Zzoomm have 2Gb/s up and down if anyone wants it, just bragging rights really, I doubt that many people will get it, but it shows what their network can do.

    8. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      when you have more than 10 customers and 2 ISPs, things do tend to take more time and effort.

      OR’s decision to go with a GPON based solution means they can roll it out fairly quickly (though not in ECI areas, apparently). The altnets will have to do it stage by stage.

      I think the only real complaint is that OR is still using GPON in brand new network builds, perhaps that should be XGSPON from the off.

    9. Avatar photo Martyn says:

      I’m on Virgin XGSPON, and currently on 2000/200. they stated it was coming public soon, I assume for all since the lower upload speed.

    10. Avatar photo XGS says:

      If there’s nothing difficult about swapping out an old ONU, replacing it and returning it why is it that not even altnets do that?

      People get new ONUs when they order products that need them and get a technician visit to install and provision them. No need for a new ONU for everyone to get XGSPON ready, only to turn GPON off.

      Right now Openreach are doing fine on GPON. Until the market turns and people stop buying it they’ve little incentive to change. As it is they’re selling it just fine.

      I would be happier if they sold products with a lot more upload, GPON could easily do it, but it’s their decision. If their customers, the ISPs, aren’t demanding it because in turn their customers, us, aren’t, why go to the expense?

    11. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @XGS, as far as i know the ONT that Zzoomm supplies is the same one for all their services, they do supply a different router on the higher speed ones, It used to be a Zyxel.
      A complaint I have about Zzoomm is their website, it is not good. Fine for ordering, but details or thin on the ground, like what router you get and there is a bit of outdated info on there.
      Another complaint is customer service, while it does seem to be getting better, it still need improving, but Zzoomm is not alone in that, even the large providers, including BT is naff at customer service.

    12. Avatar photo OmgShutUP! says:

      I bet no one has ever heard of Yayzi.. yet they do 2.3Gbps both ways for £50 a month. And people in 13 cities can currently get it.

      no Bragging Needed

    13. Avatar photo The facts says:

      It’s also about the sales, support and maintenance processes with multiple ISPs. Something most altnets don’t have to deal with.

    14. Avatar photo XGS says:

      According to Yayzi’s website it’s available for pre-order.

      Has anyone seen a live, non-trial Yayzi 2.5G speed test? I’ve seen their 2 down, 1 up product but not the symmetrical 2.5?

      Thinking about it weren’t CityFibre supposed to have quite extensive reach of XGSPON by now? Kinda weird Yayzi haven’t updated their website since the initial pre-launch with any more availability.

  2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Trouble is right now most residential customers in reality aren’t that bothered by faster speeds and in reality many customers are still happy with FTTC. Indeed I suspect most internal WIFI networks aren’t even capable of utilising existing available speeds never mind multi gigabit speeds.

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      FTTC can be MORE expensive than FTTC depending on the ISP and package and any offers. You can get 500mbps FTTP on BT lines for £31.99 for example as Plus.net has this offer days ago. Retention deals might be even better.

      The same can be said for many which were on performing ADSL lines originally – why go FTTC. The answer is bandwidth hungry applications can come along and other factors, else we would have no progress in life………..

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      As I have said before on here, I had no interest in going for FTTP, I was fine with FTTC, it did what I wanted. Plusnet pushed me to FTTP, but not theirs, they would not give me a decent offer on FTTC, instead pushing me to FTTP, so I thought if I have to go then I will go with a different network, cheaper price and a 12 months contract, not 24 months, which seems to be the norm these days.
      A shame as I was with plusnet for over 9 years.

    3. Avatar photo Oggy says:

      Adrian, nobody cares what you want.

    4. Avatar photo OmgShutUP! says:

      @Adrian.

      You are a well known whiner in the PN camp – and so just to clear it up. You were being advised for FTTP as PN are unable to supply it – like a lot of places new orders were no longer possible on your exchange.

      Also you were on FTTC but you went to Zoooom, yet you said if you were still on FTTC you would not change as you would be happy with BTs network. But you left because you did not want to be on the very network you just said you would be ahppy to stay on.

      So cut the shit.

  3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    That was a time when kit wasn’t available with > 1gbps LAN ports. Now that Wifi AX and Wifi 7 is available, that is also pushing the boundary. Kit now available with > 1gbps ports. VM have always tested speeds WAY ahead of time in closed proof of concepts because they always wanted to be known as the fastest in pre-ALTNET days.

    If you pay for over 500mbps connections, there should be no need to knee-cap a service upload many times lower on full fibre connections. Most of the ALTNETS think the same, hence symmetric, and those that don’t offer way higher uploads on upstream than BT do.

    It’s a trick by BT to protect their leased lines and gold plated revenue and to make consumers pay for more expensive packages even if they already happy with lower download speeds. If they use a lot of cloud backup or off site server backups (just a couple of examples) then they are forced to pay for more faster download packages JUST to have any hope of faster upstream. No amount of excuses by BT fans can cover it up….

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      But how many people actually do? It seems for most people video streaming is the biggest use of bandwidth right now (Netflix/iplayer etc) and that works fine with any half decent FTTC connection. No doubt sooner or later Openreach will have to upgrade to XGS-PON so why bother spending money upgrading existing technology which not many people make use of right now.

  4. Avatar photo Haleemyay says:

    I would like to see 500mbps down and 500mbps upload for £30 per month like in. No decent civilized country. I can only get here 100mbps with 10mbps upload from BT. What a joke company they are hungry for money. But nothing else.

  5. Avatar photo Zaibatsu says:

    Leased lines are for business companies. Nobody in the right mind will pay £240 per month for internet connection leased line. Why other countries can easily give symmetrical gig connection. But not in aboriginal England
    Answer because they backwards in technology

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Could always move if unhappy with the broadband options available.

      Whether that’s to a property in the UK with symmetrical services or out of the country to some other nation that’s decent, civilised and not aboriginal.

    2. Avatar photo niceservice says:

      “Leased lines are for business companies. Nobody in the right mind will pay £240 per month for internet connection leased line”

      Or for none business companies people who can afford it and had no alternative at the time. I pay double that and yes I agree I am out of my mind.. But it was that or 2mbps ADSL as back then nothing was available, not even Starlink.

      We might get CityFibre in the next 3 years (apparently). If so I will take that instead but still have a leased line of some kind. I can get one 1Gbps via CF for £199 I was told.

      But here’s food for thought.. My “out of my mind to pay for” Leased line went down yesterday at 1:12am, not sure why. Anyway, I only knew as I was woken up by an Engineer asking if they can come fix it 20 minutes later. I was back online by 3am…

      Try doing that with any and ALL of the services mentioned above. You get what you pay for and also I have done over 2PB this year so far, again try doing that elsewhere.

    3. Avatar photo niceservice says:

      In fact, even Starlink has a problem working here. I am about 2 miles outside Lincoln in the country by the dam dual carriageway which is annoying in one sense but the only way we would be able to get CF (as there is already construction done they can use anyway) so it’s also a blessing (it was just a boggy field before)

  6. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

    In order to get 1.8Gbps is Openreach still maintaining its split GPON ratio of 1:32?

    1. Avatar photo Sussex Fibre says:

      There are no plans to change this and most splitters will max out at 30.

  7. Avatar photo MM says:

    Re: ECI ports – I have a friend that was able to get nudged up to 500Mbit on an ECI connection. Nothing faster tho. Not sure if some local capacity management is being done to squeeze a little more out of the ECI kit.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Do you happen to know what postcode area that occurred in?

  8. Avatar photo john says:

    Both Openreach and Cityfibre are actively building here at the moment. With CityFibre based services being both cheaper and more capable than Openreach, it seems to be a no brainer. Are OR building new areas with the old tech? Seems a bit daft, if so. Mind you either will be an improvement over VM which we’re lumbered with atm.

  9. Avatar photo Fibre Scriber says:

    @Martyn: Virgin Media are trialing 2000/200 with a select number of customers at the moment, as far as I am aware this trial goes on until March 2024. This may be what you are receiving or it may not. I think they let customers know when they are part of this trial.

  10. Avatar photo Bucklez says:

    Do we have a list of exhcanges in NI or what?

  11. Avatar photo Alex says:

    What a big fuss about nothing!
    If it’s in trial nationwide and some ISPs are already marketing it, then it’s basically launched.
    Who cares if Openreach are technically still tweaking a few features before a full formal launch? A few nerds on here maybe, but not 99% of the British public. That’s just how iterative development works.

  12. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    There are some interesting misinformation statements on here from BT fan boys.

    Firstly, that BT won’t get sold, go bust etc. BT is taking a big risk with landline customer loss through enforced migration to broadband/VOIP service and increased competition for FTTP from multiple providers including eventually Virgin Media and their wholesale offerings.

    Secondly, several players have come onto the scene sniffing around BT for purposes of buying or controlling a major stake. Currently, BT liabilities like pension have prevented this.

    Thirdly that all ALTNETS give terrible service. They don’t. Check reviews for YouFibre and some others.

    Lastly, BT have had decades of inherited infrastructure (poles, chambers, exchanges etc) so have had much more time and budget to do something better. They haven’t; they have introduced a knee-capped service with regards to not being symmetric and continuing to use legacy GPON kit instead of XGS-PON like ALTNETS (and Virgin Media on newest network and eventually existing HFC network).

    1. Avatar photo Winston Smith says:

      You have a whole field full of straw men there.

  13. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    BT do the MINIMUM they can get away with. They never EXCEED customer expectations. This usually means a short life when competition gets healthy and a provider stays static with a worse offering.

    Traditionally before ALTNETS, in areas that had Virgin Media and there was FTTC, most people went to Virgin Media for faster speeds, unless the area was known for specific capacity utilisation issues with VM. This is why VM wanted to be known (and advertised) as the fastest ISP at the time. Even VM now realise their HFC network is coming to limitations and customers already wanting faster uploads, so that is why right now, the new network being built ‘NexFibre’ is XGS-PON and the HFC network will be replaced by XGS-PON by 2028 with work already well underway during 2023.

  14. Avatar photo Sam P says:

    I can get 1.6gbps at my address. Nice. Time to upgrade my lan to 2.5gbps

  15. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    What a bunch of crap.

    I had Hyperoptic 1G since 2015 in a Brentford high-rise, then moved a house in NW London and no one gives a damn about the whole street, because they only want the fast income of high buildings.
    Meanwhile, I am at a 87mbit max and this whole street was forgotten. The UK is years (possibly decades) behind.
    A friend of mine is in Switzerland and he just upgraded to 15gbit, and not expensive at all.

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      meanwhile when you look at Swisscom’s website, it seems they have followed much the same trajectory as BT and (more likely to be influenced by) Deutsche Telekom.

      They have ADSL and VDSL. They’re building out fibre to the home. Not everyone has it yet. What are the differences from the UK?

      One day people might stop stereotyping entire countries based on what they personally experience in their street.

    2. Avatar photo Sam P says:

      Yes. Getting 1.8gbps is “a bunch of crap”. Indeed.

    3. Avatar photo XGS says:

      ‘What are the differences from the UK?’

      That nearly all their FTTP network is point to point fibre so operators can send whatever they want down it.

      Init4 lease the dark fibre to customers and use point to point optics. Others use PON. Either way they can sell what they want rather than being restricted to whatever Swisscom see fit to provide.

      A minority of Swisscom’s FTTP is XGSPON.

      Other than that, sure, identical.

    4. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Wait, what?

      ‘same trajectory as BT and (more likely to be influenced by) Deutsche Telekom.’

      You’re equating Swisscom with the telco that has done nearly zero FTTP but is sweating copper for all it’s worth with 35b VDSL? Really? DT make Openreach look like trailblazers.

    5. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      a meaningless distinction from a customer perspective, however. Of course there are dullards who get frothy over PON vs PtoP but the masses do not.

      My point was that Swisscom still have a *lot* of copper in their network, it isn’t the 100% fibre utopia that OP desperately tried to suggest.

      Yes, like DT, the very copper heavy telco in that country to their north.

    6. Avatar photo XGE says:

      It matters when there’s no need to have another company dig fibre to the home to offer something Swisscom don’t.

      Swisscom’s full fibre build in terms of quantity and take up is more like Openreach. Swisscom have been building full fibre for a while and at way lower cost than DT.

      Either way all the guy said was that his mate had crazy fast speeds in Switzerland which isn’t surprising and is due to Swisscom using PtP.

  16. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Just like to point out different “anonymous” posters here 😉

  17. Avatar photo Richard says:

    How many properties is the 2.5Gbps downstream and 1.24Gbps upstream share with?

    Is it possible to find who you are shared with?

    1. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      It’s a maximum of a 32 way split, but you cannot find out who you share your ONU port with.

    2. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      Your distribution point cabinet might be relatively easy to find especially in urban areas, and it will serve the properties in your neighbourhood. However finding the cabinet can get tricky if a pole is used for fibre drops.

    3. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Openreach FTTP doesn’t use cabinets as a general rule, Roger. The exception being the remote OLTs and those aren’t distribution cabinets, they contain an OLT serving multiple PONs.

  18. Avatar photo Frome user says:

    Youfibre 2gb/2gb.. £49 pcm plus free static IP. Works just great on my own kit which has 2gb switch/router and cat6 cabling… happy days.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      It is indeed awesome but not much use to folks that can’t get it.

  19. Avatar photo UKAussieP says:

    Meanwhile, I live in Highworth (a stone throw north of Swindon), and my exchange is:

    “FTTP is not available.
    The exchange is not in a current fibre priority programme”

    Only FTTC, no fibre from any altnets or virgin.

    And even if fibre comes before the preverbial hell freezes over, im in a flat or “Multi Dwelling Unit”

  20. Avatar photo Jason Tozer says:

    Nice but how about sorting out rural areas…still stuck with 50mb/s in cornwall

  21. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

    One important thing; if Openreach deploy GPON now, they can later upgrade to both GPON and XGS-PON on the same network with under 15 minutes downtime to add the second OLT to the network. This can repeated with NG-PON2, and then in future with HS-PON, because the wavelengths don’t overlap (so you can either buy XGS-PON OLTs with a GPON port for connecting the legacy OLT, or buy a “coexistence device” which splits by wavelength and has ports on it for connecting OLTs).

    At the moment, downstream for different PONs is:

    1480 to 1500 nm for GPON (2.5G down)
    1575 to 1850 nm for XGS-PON and XG-PON (10G down)
    1596 to 1602 nm for NG-PON2 (40G down, no more than 10G per subscriber)

    Upstream is:

    1290 to 1330 nm for GPON (1.25G up)
    1260 to 1280 nm for XG-PON (2.5G up) and XGS-PON (10G up)
    1524 to 1544 nm for NG-PON2 (40G up, no more than 10G per subscriber)

    And HS-PON is designed to not overlap any of these, while providing up to 50G in each direction to a single subscriber.

    The only reason Openreach have to migrate you from GPON to XGS-PON (or NG-PON2, or HS-PON, in the future) is the cost savings from turning off the GPON OLT and the second-hand value of that OLT. And Openreach will be weighing those against the expense of swapping out the old ONUs for people who have GPON and aren’t buying higher tier products that need XGS-PON, NG-PON2, HS-PON or future developments.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Openreach aren’t going to go hear NGPON2 are they Farnz?

      Think Verizon are single-handedly keeping that one alive: Openreach seem likely to use Nokia 25GPON and/or Adtran 50GPON.

      Interestingly 50GPON/HSPON will coexist with either GPON or XGSPON but not both, so it’ll be interesting to see how Openreach and others play it. The longer they install GPON the more incentive to jump XGSPON entirely and move straight to something else.

    2. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      Openreach at this stage have no plans to go beyond XGS-PON, and they’ve decided that they’re skipping XG-PON completely.

      I suspect that they’ll skip NG-PON2, because (as compared to XGS-PON) it only increases aggregate bandwidth per split, and not maximum product speeds, but that’s my guess, and not based on information. HS-PON isn’t yet complete, but does raise maximum product speed from 10G to 50G; it should, once complete, raise the aggregate throughput for a single split to at least 200G (if not more).

      The big shift that occurs, technologically speaking, is the move from a single wavelength that’s time divided (BPON/GPON/XG-PON/XGS-PON) to multiple wavelengths that are all time divided (NG-PON2, HS-PON). Once Openreach is past that point, it’s just about what speeds people are willing to pay for, noting that WDM systems can happily give you 100G per user to 32 users already, and a TWDM system like HS-PON just lets you make more use of the total throughput possible on a fibre.

    3. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Farnz – 50GPON isn’t multiple wavelength and is described as HS-PON so I’m not sure on this.

      Also: to run multiple wavelengths you need tunable optics and they are expensive. Really expensive relative to fixed optics. I’m only aware of Verizon using tunable, everyone else is using fixed XGSPON and 25GPON.

      I have noted, though, that a new wavelength was added to 50GPON at the end of last year that allows co-existence with GPON and XGSPON simultaneously, though 25GPON and 50GPON cannot play together.

      Are you aware of anyone other than Verizon that has deployed tunable optics for PON at scale?

    4. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      I know of no-one who’s deployed either NG-PON2 (10G/lambda) or HS-PON (50G/lambda) at scale with multiple wavelengths; I don’t particular pay attention to deployments, just to the ITU’s activities standardising things, and vendors actually offering product (albeit at a very steep price right now in the case of HS-PON’s 25G and 50G variants).

      HS-PON is split into two components; there’s a convergence layer that talks about how you can combine 1 or more physical layers into a single service, and a physical layer that describes how you can provide a single lambda of service at 50G (or 25G). The idea is that the convergence layer is now fixed, and you can mix-and-match physical layers underneath according to network need – start with a single 50G lambda for now, add a second one via tunable optics (or a second set) later, or have the convergence layer combine both GPON and 50G-PON lambdas into a single service. So you can start out offering pure TDM PON on a 50G bearer, and later upgrade to TWDM with multiple 50G bearers when network needs require it.

      Key point for me is that with the current state of technology, Openreach could quite plausibly deploy multiple OLTs on a single PON, and therefore don’t need to replace a GPON ONU with a XGS-PON or later ONU unless you want a service that can’t be supplied on GPON (e.g. anything faster than 2.5G down, 1.25G up).

    5. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      And as an aside, some of the things that the convergence layer is meant to support strike me as mildly crazy.

      We start in a sane place; you can use 2 or more underlying 50G wavelengths for a single service via the convergence layer.

      Then we start walking away from sanity; it lets you use two separate fibres running PONs for a single service, getting you resilience against a single fibre break. This could just as easily be done with MPLS atop the PON for the people who need it.

      And then it gets into the “just because we can, not because anyone should deploy this” territory – for example, converge GPON and 50G PON on the same fibre, so that the 50G PON kit can stay in low power idle modes unless demand is high enough to need the 50G PON, or converge GPON on one fibre with 4x 50G PON on another so that you have a failover service with milliseconds of downtime.

  22. Avatar photo Finbar8gig says:

    How about allowing customers to leave and re introducing the law that one can simply leave there contract for 0 cost when these greedy corps put prices up midway through and at other points of the contract. Absolutely disgusting, unfair and dictorial behaviour. Something needs to be done. I work in the communications sector and the amount of users of these companies i meet struggling to make ends meet, being told it would cost hundreds to terminate contracts after 20 30 40% rises…absurd

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      To be fair people agree to the rises when they sign up and it’s not the smallest of print by law.

    2. Avatar photo Billy says:

      @Finbar8gig Its a legally binding contract that the customer has agreed and signed up to, if people want to break a contract they need to pay the exit fees.

      Please educate yourself as you’re making yourself look stupid.

  23. Avatar photo Oldtimeuser says:

    Extended again, not a surprise there.

    What is, is EE listing it as a viable option on their website.

    Those who have jumped at the higher tier have simply been told by EE that they can’t actually implement the higher speed tier yet, so they get higher price, new ONT box and yet same speeds as BT/EE 900 tier.

    So, I’m in no rush to move from BT to EE, until it is completely out of pilot stage.

    1. Avatar photo Oldtimeuser says:

      Okay that was last I heard last month, a quick check on EE now and it seems some are actually getting put onto higher tier, so it seems EE are able to implement it whilst still in pilot stage.

      Although, it is still dumb that you get a new 2.5gb ONT and yet the new Smart Hub Plus still comes with just 1gb ports.

      And no I’m not restarting any chats about why you need more than a 1gb connection…

    2. Avatar photo M says:

      That’s simply not true.

      I had an engineer out to swap out the ONT and a friend of mine has also had this done. We both get the advertised speeds.

      Neither of us lives in a pilot area.

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      While it is remiss to not include at least one 2.5G LAN port, presumably you can get the 1.8Gbps throughput with a combination of ports, or wifi + ethernet. It’s not that it is impossible to achieve, it’s just that it doesn’t work the way you think it should.

      There is still a lot of gigE equipment out there, and servers that can’t provide anything like that sort of throughput to an individual user anyway, so it is perhaps not the big deal you want it to be.

      I would also presume that BT has some idea of how their customers use their connections (wifi playing a big part) and this will work well enough for those people.

  24. Avatar photo Jordan says:

    Mark do you know if any isp can join the trial like on CityFibres trial yazyi is going it and vodafone will be joining in 2024, for OpenReachs trial can any isp join or is it just EE that is allowed? also we only seen the 1.6gbps, why doesnt EE also replace the 900plan with 1.2gbps?

  25. Avatar photo Phil says:

    I have FTTC 70M. At the same time there will be 2 people WFH. Simultaneously I will access a number of databases & be on a Teams call (via VPN), be listening to radio via Internet. others in the house will be streaming Netflix or similar As a teat I have had 7 devices streaming without issue, why would a residential user need more than 100M?

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Teams call 5 Mbps or so, accessing databases you are querying them and receiving results, so very little bandwidth there.

      7 devices streaming sounds like it might be a variety of bitrates to fit into 70 Mbps.

      Realistic home scenario: Download a 120-150 GB game from Steam, there are a bunch to choose from, while the two of you WFH and there’s a 4k stream running on the side.

      Perfectly reasonable use case for a 2-4 person household.

      See how 100 Mb holds up to the challenge of that. Something has to give it and may well not be the Steam download if it’s accumulated enough connections. It uses tons on mine to get to its full speed, but thankfully it taps out before my connection does.

    2. Avatar photo Carlos says:

      What’s your upload speed?

      Depending on your profession slow upload cripples working from home.

      Windows updates, downloading game updates, streaming multple 4k streams, remote backup of your data soon adds up!

    3. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      It’s like road building. As soon you add more capacity people will find a way to saturate it.

    4. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      The desire for higher speed comes from the desire to not wait for downloads.

      A modern computer game is usually on the order of 10s of GiB to download; for example, Horizon Forbidden West on the Playstation 5 is just under 100 GiB. On a 10M connection with Ethernet to the console, that’s a 24 hour download, assuming it’s allowed to saturate the link. Upgrade to 100M, and that’s still 2½ hours. Upgrade to gigabit, and we’re down to 15 minutes to download it. Going beyond gigabit doesn’t let the PS5 download it any faster (since the Ethernet port on the console is a gigabit port), but means that other use of the Internet won’t affect the download time of the game.

      And the difference between “wait over 2 hours” and “wait 20 minutes” is significant to a lot of people – one is “I set the game downloading after I put the kids to bed, and get to play it tomorrow”, while the other is “I set the game downloading, and I get to play it this evening”.

      BTW, similar applies in some professional domains; for example, there’s a piece of CAD software I use that’s 10 GiB to download when I need it – being able to redownload it when required in a couple of minutes would be nicer than keeping it installed for rare uses. And that ignores people working with professional video content (film, TV industries) where 100 Mbit/s codec rates are considered small – being able to download faster than real-time when attempting to work from home is helpful, even if you don’t do it very often.

    5. Avatar photo XGS says:

      I remember reading on this site’s own forums about a guy who ended up having his PON split as there were two people on there working for a TV company using a gigabit each pretty much solidly throughout the working day.

      Without full fibre they’d have been unable to work during the pandemic.

      Sky’s offices in Hunslet, Leeds had such demands they erected poles and built dark fibre to it to connect it to the Ipsaris network they acquired when they purchased Easynet.

  26. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

    But EE are advertising 1.6?

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Not sure I understand and no-one else has commented so I guess other folks aren’t sure what the question is either.

    2. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      They’re advertising the 1.8Gbps tier as 1.6Gbps because of the advertising rules that require ISPs to show an average (median) customer speed as measured at peak-time.

    3. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      As Mark says they have to advertise real world speeds. If you speed test their 900Mb service you usually get 920-930 because that’s what a gigabit ethernet connection puts through in the real world.

  27. Avatar photo Jordan says:

    anyone know if EE/BT will be selling the 1.2 gbps instead of the 900?

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      I can’t see any reason why they would but you’d need an insider to say for sure.

      Would need an Openreach engineer to replace the ONU, which costs EE, and then the 1.2G product costs more than the 1G product they base their 900 Mbit product on.

      They’re a mass market provider. I’m not sure why they’d go to that effort for the sake of being able to sell a 1000 product instead of 900.

    2. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      It’s all about advertising, so they can say things like “fastest widely-available broadband” (as opposed to Virgin for example)

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