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EE UK Launch 1.6Gbps FTTP Broadband Package for Gamers

Thursday, Jun 27th, 2024 (9:28 am) - Score 8,440
EE-User-Holding-Smartphone-next-to-Router

Broadband ISP and mobile operator EE (BT) has today launched a second 1.6Gbps speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) package on Openreach’s network, which is called the ‘Broadband Made for Gamers‘ bundle and claims to offer online gamers “lower latency, game server geofencing and in-home network prioritisation,” among other things.

In case anybody has forgotten, EE already launched a 1.6Gbps (120Mbps upload) package for £69.99 per month last year (here), which came alongside their new Wi-Fi 6 capable Smart Hub Plus router and other kit. This was based on Openreach’s latest 1.8Gbps tier (requires a new 2.5Gbps port ONT to be installed in your home) and was also promoted for use by gamers.

NOTE: Openreach’s full fibre network currently covers almost 14.5 million UK premises and aims to reach 25 million by December 2026 (80%+), before aiming for up to 30m by 2030.

The fact is that an FTTP connection, at any speed, should deliver excellent latency times for gaming and thus the key question we have to ask today is – what does that that extra £10 per month get you with this new bundle (the new bundle is £79.99 per month)? Followed by, is it worth the extra money?

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According to EE, the Smart Hub Plus router that comes with this package includes ‘Game Mode‘, which is something that previously came as part of their WiFi Enhancer Boost. This feature is powered by Netduma and adds geo-filtering, as well as ping-optimise. On top of that, the bundle also includes 24-months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (worth almost £200 in total), giving players access to hundreds of games, which is good if you like Microsoft’s platform.

What is Game Mode?

➤ Geo Filter – chooses the highest quality servers and blocks any that have increased lag for best in game play.

➤ Ping Optimiser – allowing customers to enjoy a fine-tuned connection with less buffering when gaming, with reducing server ping by up to 24% according to tests carried out by developers Netduma.

However, whether or not you really need Game Mode is debatable, as a good vanilla FTTP line should already be delivering excellent latency and stability, unless your ISP is being particularly crap with their routing/peering/capacity arrangements. Not to mention that humans are usually pretty good at ‘Geo Filtering’ from a server list themselves.

Sam Kemp, Director of Gaming at EE, said:

By introducing Broadband Made for Gamers, we believe we’re making a huge step in our ambition to become the number one destination for gaming in the UK, by creating a broadband package that has been truly tailored for gamers to enhance their in-game experiences. Features such as Game Mode as well as 1.6Gbps Full Fibre will give gamers the extra edge when they’re playing, and customers will never be short on the latest and most exciting titles with our inclusive 24-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.”

EE adds that tests conducted on their Full Fibre network using Cisco’s ThousandEyes (formerly SamKnows) performance monitoring technology “reveals it offers a latency reduction of over a third compared to standard broadband“, although they don’t provide any specific details or define what “standard broadband” means. A more interesting test would be to see how the new package compares with their entry-level 100Mbps+ FTTP plans for latency.

Admittedly, we’re always a little bit sceptical when an ISP claims to offer a multiplayer optimised service for online video games because there’s a limit to how much you can tweak FTTP connections in order to extract improvements in latency. In addition, the netcode that multiplayer games use has to be optimised for slower connections too, which means that past a certain point there’s an element of diminishing returns for those with the lowest latencies.

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Not to forget that your latency (ping times) will also depend on aspects of your own local network setup too, such as whether your device is connecting via WiFi (what standard?) or wired etc. Overall, it seems like the main cost difference with this bundle is the addition of that Xbox Game Pass.

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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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Comments
27 Responses
  1. Avatar photo - says:

    Ironic, the higher then number of 1.8Gb users on a ~2.3Gb PON, the more contention there will be. More contention = worse experience for gamers (higher jitter, packetloss)

    1. Avatar photo dragon says:

      Depends on how well the prioritisation works, I think Pon usually has an assured rate as well as a burst rate configuredconfigured.

      Since the actual game traffic will be well below the assured rate it should be forwarded in the PON network with higher priority.

  2. Avatar photo MICHAEL says:

    Before moving away from EE on the 900Mbps package in March this year. I payed for the WiFi Enhancer Boost and it didn’t work well at all. Paying £5 extra for it at the time. Playing online with friends I would normally get kicked out of games because or the EU server they were on, and would keep me in the lobby. while friends loaded into games fine. Hopefully it’s been fixed as I had loads of phone call to support when with EE but they couldn’t fix the issues.

  3. Avatar photo Ed says:

    In before anyone else complains it’s not symmetrical.

    1. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      For £80 a month, it should be.

  4. Avatar photo Kris says:

    Interesting as EE packages have come with game pass for years.

    I’ve got 12 months game pass on my gigabit deal – I don’t think I’d have gone for a contract that simply added that cost onto the base price of the product.

  5. Avatar photo Charlie says:

    EE 1.6GBit FTTP should already be giving the best gaming experience possible. Being charged an extra £10.00 when already paying £70 completely sucks in every manner.
    My ping times of 10ms to Google are poor on FTTP. I use to get 13ms via ADSL on 3.3Km of copper wire when the DSLAM’s were in the exchange & now it’s down to poor service via Data Centre’s.

    1. Avatar photo Ben says:

      The Speed of Light Council acknowledge your complaint and have asked light to travel faster.

    2. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      “my ping times of 10ms to Google are poor”.

      Are you sure you understand what you are saying there? It doesn’t get much better than 10ms…

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      I get 3-4ms to servers in London, including Google, with Openreach Fibre. So it can get better than 10ms, not sure if it matters that much in practice, even for online gaming.

    4. Avatar photo anon says:

      Ben. Mildly amusing but completley irrelevant. Pings are more than just “le speed of light”.
      Cognizant (why spell it like this unless you’re american, but anyway) ” It doesn’t get much better than 10ms… ” . it does. try 5ms to UK game servers. Very possible and half that number. Personally, it doesn’t matter that much but some people think it does so?

    5. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      Right, but there’s diminishing returns here. I doubt there’s much perceptable difference at these latency figures. I challenge you to see the difference between 4ms and 10ms. You probably can’t 🙂

    6. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Why do you think there will be a difference between xDSL and FTTP in terms of latency? The server you’re communicating with is still the exact same distance away.

    7. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Depends where in the UK you are. If the server is in London and you are in Wales, the South-West, bits of the Midlands, or the North and not right next to Manchester you’re going to struggle on nearly all ISPs to get 5 ms absolute best case. A little further from Manchester and even pristine routing you’re not getting 5 ms.

      Limiting factors: the path isn’t perfectly directly straight and light has a finite speed of about 200 km / millisecond in fibre optic cable.

      I cannot hit 5 ms to London. Even the ISP with the most direct route manages to just reach 7. Most ISPs use the same fibre routes. Those that don’t one of them is quite around the houses, one is pretty good, one is pretty good, one is in the middle.

      ISPs using BT’s Business wholesale products are at the mercy of BT to route traffic to them.

      FTTP takes 2-3 ms from a fast path DSL ping. That’s it. While the UK isn’t a big country fibre networks are built around hubs and the fibre route to a location is usually a fair bit longer than the straight line route. Following the major roads gives an idea.

      BT and TalkTalk seem to often have more direct paths as far as Openreach services go. Altnets can be very competitive.

  6. Avatar photo Robbie Khan says:

    Yeah I will stick to my 950 down and 950 up fibre for £33 a month (£25 without static IP) thanks. <4ms latency….

    1. Avatar photo Kevin.white@gmail.com says:

      8 quid a month for a static IP? Someone’s being fleeced….

    2. Avatar photo James™ says:

      @Robbie Khan Less than 4ms to where exactly?
      Not really anything to compare against as latency is dependent on distance etc to a set location

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      If you have that option, then it makes sense to stay with it.

      People like me only have Openreach as option, so it’s good that these plans are now available. Not that I plan to upgrade… 900Mbps is more than enough for me.

      @James. I get 3-4ms to London with Plusnet (well, Openreach) fibre (proper fibre, not FTTC).

  7. Avatar photo PoweredByVeg says:

    I will stick to my 41meg service at £32, nobody should need more speed than what I have. I can download a game in a mere 12 hours and not be able to watch any TV due to insufficient bandwidth. I can update my electric car in a fantastic 1 whole day.
    2024 is such a great time to live.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Don’t game over congested WiFi and you’re good to go as far as that runs. I’d prefer my ISP let my data flow untouched: less to go wrong.

      BTW: FTTP taking 3 ms from fast path ADSL latency is exactly as would be expected. Networks aren’t straight lines to wherever you want to go, they aren’t necessarily the most direct route available, light in a fibre optic cable travels at very approximately 200 km a millisecond and we measure the round trip there and back. Dropping latency to Openreach exchange from 4-5 ms to 1-2 ms isn’t going to bring latency to a server to 1-2 ms unless both the ISP’s BNG and the server are close to you too.

  8. Avatar photo MICHAEL says:

    See from my comment above, about EE. I moved away from them in March and joined Zzoomm on the 2Gig package. I play competitive Fortnite and get a stable ping of 9-0ms to UK servers. I’ve optimized my gaming PC and use ExitLag. That helps with routing to the in game servers. I normally see 0ms in game most evenings when playing. But the WiFi enhancer feature didn’t work well for me with EE. Getting stuck in the lobby with friends when they get in fine was a real pain. No amount of changing settings with CS support couldn’t fix the issues. But since I’ve been with Zzoomm and using ExitLag my ping like I’ve said is really low it’s crazy.

    1. Avatar photo Kev says:

      Fairly sure the Fortnite reported latency lies. I am with VM who supposedly aren’t the greatest when it comes to latency and I regularly see 0ms also. To be 0ms the server would have to be in your house

    2. Avatar photo MICHAEL says:

      @Kev

      Fortnite has UK servers in Manchester, London and Ireland. So depending where you live you definitely can see between 0/10ms in game. Plus with ExitLag you can see the servers your connected to and it give you detailed information about your connection to the server. So I know it definitely possible.

    3. Avatar photo anon says:

      0ms

      and you believe it?

  9. Avatar photo tom says:

    Some game publishers tie down their games to use their own servers take Ubisoft their server farm is located in Montreal, Canada
    latency to that is at the lowest in the low to mid 80ms and Ubisoft only use a few peering companies
    so regardless of ISP they all use those peering routes EE are selling gimmicks and why would any gamer need anywhere near a 1gb of bandwidth speed ?

  10. Avatar photo lee says:

    Ofcom should investigate immediately, whist the ont is being updated to a nokia device capable of 2.5gb, the EE router that IS required (especially since the DECT is encoded to prevent other handsets working with it, ships with just gigabit ports so users will NEVER get the full data to a single port, so effectively or limited to just 1gb

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