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Openreach Trial Gift Cards to Boost UK FTTP Broadband Take-up

Monday, Jun 17th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 3,560
Money Pounds Savings for UK Homes

Network access provider Openreach (BT) are preparing to trial a new “end customer voucher scheme“, which will offer a special gift card for shopping worth £50 to consumers who follow the promotion and sign-up via a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband package from one of their many retail ISPs.

The idea of a wholesale provider offering an incentive directly to consumers is nothing particularly new in this market (i.e. as a complement, NOT replacement, to any offers that retail ISPs might already be running). For example, CityFibre have long made a habit out of offering cashback incentives to new subscribers (here).

NOTE: Openreach’s full fibre network currently covers over 14 million premises and they’re investing up to £15bn to reach 25m by Dec 2026 (14m have already been covered). After that, the ambition also exists to reach up to 30 million premises by 2030.

However, Openreach usually prefers to deal directly with ISPs at the wholesale level, rather than consumers. But the new trial changes that dynamic a bit. Sadly, the related briefing on the operator’s website (here) doesn’t include any useful information, although we have since been able to uncover some details and can now share them with our readers.

The voucher scheme appears to reflect a small scale trial, which will run from 24th June 2024 to 1st September 2024 and is to only be marketed at certain postcode sectors in England, Wales and Scotland (reflecting an overall sample of under 100,000 premises). Northern Ireland has not yet been included.

As part of this, Openreach will market a special offer to consumers in the chosen FTTP areas – aimed at those who have yet to sign-up with the new service – via online social media and physical postcards. The trial offer involves a One4All multi-store gift card that is said to be worth £50, irrespective of your choice of ISP. Existing FTTP customers on their network won’t be able to apply, unless they’ve been without an active service for at least 60 days.

Crucially, this is currently just a trial, and we don’t yet know how the promotion might change in the future, or even if they’ll expand its availability. Openreach are already seeing decent take-up of around 34% and this may well help to incentivise further adoption, while at the same time helping them to compete with cheaper and faster rivals. But no doubt Altnet’s will be watching very closely for anything they might deem as the incumbent abusing its market position.

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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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24 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    Having to pay people to take up OR FTTP says something, no?

    1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      …that it costs them less to service FTTP than it does the copper network?

      …that there’s a cost of living crisis, and that every little helps?

    2. Avatar photo Frank Butcher says:

      Opex on FTTP infra is considerably lower than legacy assets (FTTC, ADSL, copper network etc).

      It makes commercial sense if done in a way that encourages customers who might not otherwise migrate to FTTP. It would be interesting to know what the triggers are for the offer as I would expect it to be targeted, e.g. customers that haven’t changed ISP in many years and are with an ISP that doesn’t otherwise incentivise users to move to FTTP.

    3. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      There’s going to be various reasons why someone may not want to switch to FTTP e.g. no surface level benefits such as faster speeds, their current connection being ‘good enough’, issues caused by switching such as wiring, etc.

      Bribing people to switch over is likely going to go down far better than alternative solutions e.g. higher prices for non-FTTP packages.

  2. Avatar photo Craig says:

    Why not just issue a termination notice of any previous technology (adsl, vdsl, etc) after FTTP becomes available to the ISP forcing them to migrate the customer?

    Perfectly sensible as they wish to decommission the old equipment (cabinet, etc).

    1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      An unconsented cessation of analogue service would cause outrage amongst certain groups – those using health or security kit that can’t deal with FTTP, those clinging on to their POTS landline and corded phone, plus a selection of other reasons. The botched roll out of digital voice is hitting the same problems, all of which should have been foreseen and properly mitigated when government decided that FTTP was the future and before both BT and VM started their digital voice roll outs.

  3. Avatar photo Adam says:

    I’d quite happily take up fttp if it was offered openreach, unfortunately we still have a very hit and miss approach to if somewhere has fttp, and when it might be available. I’m not expecting a set in stone date of 1st October or whatever, but a vague goal of “between September and the start of 2025” would at least be nice.

    It’s also more frustrating how the fibre splitter is literally at the end of my 5m long drive for the neighbours 4 doors down(yes I watched them install and splice it 5 years ago) but we’re given no information as to when splitters are going to be installed for everyone else.

    1. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

      Appears reasonable to gauge customer reaction if they were to be used.

      It is quite likely that OR will end up with pockets of customers that for what ever reason hold onto DSL products that are holding up the recovery of FTTC cabinets etc (freeing fibre) or priority Exchanges (property assets).

      The benefit may not be direct but pass through the ISP linked to the Post Code.

  4. Avatar photo Si says:

    They could speed up the rate of uptake by rolling it out to the people that really need and want it. Their rollout in Andover is dismal and still shows me as 2026 despite them supposedly rolling out currently :/

    1. Avatar photo Dale says:

      Depending where in Andover you are Si, I know they’re not rolling it out on Roman Way or King Arthurs way as they need to dig the paths up, the ducting is not in place and some middle manager decided that its “too expensive”.

      With any luck, it’ll be here by 2025 but I wouldn’t hold your breath!

      I’m waiting for VM and XGS-PON to hit Andover (Again, wishful thinking!)

  5. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    Once people hear about this, I imagine they are going to be *less* inclined to change to FTTP, instead hanging on in the hope that the offer will appear in their area?

  6. Avatar photo Declan McGuinness says:

    Wouldn’t say gift cards are needed, advertising that FTTP is available in your area would be money better spent told a fair few people in the pub there is Openreach full fibre available in our area as they were putting up new poles to be told ah it’s alright son we’ve already got fibre meaning fttc. All isps to blame for this advertising fttc as fibre back in the day!

    1. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

      Completely agree with the misrepresentation of FTTC being fibre.

      In terms of advertising VS gift card, how much does a broadcast TV/social media campaign cost per household acquired versus a direct incentive? “Look at the lovely reliable fast fibre you could have, we can drill a hole into your wall, fit some boxes that consume electricity and remove your ‘works in a power cut POTS’ ” VS “Here’s £50 if you sign up to FTTP with your ISP”

      Outcome an interesting read.

      I also expect the vouchers don’t cost OR £50, shops sell at their face value, but there must be a mark-up

  7. Avatar photo LB says:

    If the had actually planned their roll out better they would have better uptake, my area, 1 side of the road that is mostly elderly accommodation has full fibre, and has little uptake, side I am on is blocks of flats but mostly 20-40 year olds living in them and they refused to install the full fibre despite cable space and trunking already available

    1. Avatar photo Concerned Citizen says:

      Dollars to doughnuts i’d bet its the managing agents of the blocks holding it back and not allowing or dragging the feet about the fiber being installed.

  8. Avatar photo Graeme Johnstone says:

    They should actually focus on implementing fttp. One side of my street serviced by overhead cables can get fttp. My side, serviced by direct bury cable has no indication of ever getting fttp. They need to come up with a solution for direct bury

    1. Avatar photo Tsh says:

      We have no idea if we will ever have access to FTTP. Its quite annoying seeing all the adverts.

    2. Avatar photo Biglegg says:

      I’m in a similar position. Everyone else can get fttp from 2 poles in the street, our row of 10 houses have underground ducting and cannot. Very frustrating!

  9. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    Just shows what I have said before, that a lot of people see no need to move to FTTP and are happy with what they have. As i have also said before, only have to look at the lack of houses that have FTTP when I walk around the estate, be it Zzoomm or Openreach. While it have increased slightly over the last 12 months, still more that don’t have FTTP than do. Granted, some of these house may not have broadband full stop, but i bet very few these days.
    I have noticed that there seem to be more Zzoomm than Openreach, which is good.

  10. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Don’t think that’s the scale of incentive sufficient for me to request FTTP.

    Openreach FTTP on my road is “On request” only i.e. you have to pay the full costs incurred in laying in fibre from the cabinet to your premises. My existing FTTC copper connection doesn’t terminate in the nearest roadside box, which is only 100ft away, but in a box 200 metres distant in a roadside box at the other end of the road. So heaven knows how much that construction work would cost me, . . . a huge disincentive to take-up (Why am I reminded of crippling effect of Student loans ?).

    If the marketeers really wanted to do something useful and save everybody expense, as opposed to offering “Mere puff” token measures , in my case they could do worse than equip each roadside box with a 4G Tx/Rx unit (Or wi-fi 6, take-your-pick) and re-assign my connection to the roadside box that is nearest to me.
    For whatever reasons, both those possibilities seem remote, so if I’m not going to be able to avail myself of FTTP before hell freezes over, why bother paying for an exorbitant broadband land line connection ?
    That’s why I have been experimenting this month with running my internet connections using a 4G mobile router and frankly even though that offers a download rate varying between 3 and 10Mbps, I’ve had no problems acquiring an internet connection or with the continuity of signal. Those connections included live streaming. Needless to say the only service I have had problems with was the BBC broadcast of yesterdays England Euro match . . . which broke continuity of signal several times due to buffering . . . and I ascribe that effect to the BBC server being ancient, under-capacity and overwhelmed.

  11. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    The road to the creation of second, third, fourth and fifth class digital citizens.

    What other countries have had this ridiculous under-capitalised, “Cherry-picking” approach to what will become the future of how countries function ?

    Yet they can spend, through Grant-In-Aid (Public funds), over £100 billion on a high-speed railway and the ticket prices will be so high that only the first class citizens can afford them.

  12. Avatar photo Jonathan Knight says:

    To be fair, one of the reasons the uptake is so low for them is in my area they are the last to roll out, and lacklustre, 1Gbit down but only 200Mbit up, I currently get 1Gbit symmetrical with netomnia/youfibre and can upgrade to 4Gbit if I needed to.

    Too late, and not good enough.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Openreach only increased their build speed here because of Zzoomm, well that what it seemed like. As soon as Zzoomm came to my street, Openreach was here as well. But the strange thing is, even on a large estate on the other side of the city there are still streets that don’t have Openreach, not many but some, and yet they have Zzoomm. I know that the estate have a lot of how do I put this, people that are struggling with money, so we are told, but there are some that are not struggling and are pretty well off.

      I would not have gone for Openreach fibre, I would have stayed on FTTC if Zzoomm was not here.

  13. Avatar photo Garyh says:

    So much for all the Overbuild isnt a waste of time, areas will support multiple providers, when you cant even get people off fttc.

    Sadly however you’d need to add more zeros to the value of those vouchers to make fttp a financially viable proposition to my area.

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