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Openreach Update on Closure of G.fast Cabinets in UK FTTP Areas

Friday, Jun 14th, 2024 (2:00 am) - Score 11,520
gfast openreach sidepod install

Network access provider Openreach (BT) has issued a small but interesting update to UK ISPs on the question of how they intend to deal with G.fast broadband cabinets that have a) no activate customers, and b) have been 100% overbuilt by the operator’s latest gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network. You can guess the answer.

Just to recap. G.fast (ITU G.9701) was an interim hybrid-fibre and copper technology, which was capable of download speeds up to around 300Mbps, but which ultimately ended up being abandoned (here) in favour of Openreach’s welcome desire to deploy full fibre (FTTP) technology at scale. The service only ever covered around 2.8 million UK premises and just a tiny number of ISPs still support it (here).

NOTE: Openreach’s FTTP network covers over 14 million premises and they’re investing up to £15bn to reach 25m by December 2026 (here), before reaching up to 30 million by 2030.

Openreach has since overbuilt many of their G.fast cabinet (extension pods) areas with FTTP and take-up of the old service was so low that some of those don’t have any active G.fast customers left. According to the details of a new briefing (here), which have been seen by ISPreview, Openreach already have an agreement with ISPs that would allow them to close G.fast in FTTP Priority Exchanges areas with 100% full fibre overbuild.

The agreement has since been firmed up through discussions at the industry CFPCG (Copper Fibre Products Commercial Group), which means that they now have the support to “close ALL remaining Gfast Pods with zero active end customers where they also have 100% FTTP overbuild“. As a result, 30 days’ notice has been issued for the first tranche of the qualifying DSLAMS (cabinets) to be put into the decommissioning programme.

At present this means that a total of 335 G.fast DSLAMs will be put through the Openreach Compaction process, where line cards are removed for reuse, all systems and inventory will be updated and then finally the DSLAM will be stood down and removed from power.

At this stage we don’t have any details regarding the exact list of DSLAMs or how long they will all take to be decommissioned, but then this process is as much a learning process for Openreach as it is for ISPs. Overall, this is a logical step (given the total availability of FTTP in related areas) and obviously won’t impact any live customers.

Just to be absolutely clear, if you are still on a G.fast line in an Openreach FTTP area then you’re not on a “zero use” cabinet and so don’t need to worry.

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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
18 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Be interesting to see just how many customers are left on G.Fast, there can’t be that many seeing as only 2.8m premises were ever passed. Surprised that once they overbuild a G.Fast area they aren’t giving incentives to the remaining customers to migrate.

    1. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

      From a pricing perspective I think there already is.

      It’s easy for ISPs to email out but that may prompt customers to think and compare with others.

    2. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      So I believe they stopped reporting G.fast customers last year, but at Q1 2023 the figure was 343,000.

    3. Avatar photo Rainberg says:

      there isn’t much incentive to continue selling G.Fast. Sky stopped selling G.Fast to new orders a while back too

    4. Avatar photo N says:

      343,000 is way more than I would of thought to be honest that’s something close to 20% take-up .

  2. Avatar photo Jason says:

    Love my g.fast got the full 330meg and it runs sweet as a nut . Will be ashame for this to close

    1. Avatar photo anon says:

      lucky you, i get 70-80mbit and below the minimum speed. I could cut it off without penalty. but my only other choice is virgin media. and i’d rather poke both my eyes out before i go back to them.

    2. Avatar photo Dassa says:

      Why?

      When it closes, it will be because you have FTTP available to you which will perform at least as well.

    3. Avatar photo Plus ca change says:

      Love my V.34bis got the full 33.6K and it runs sweet as a nut . Will be ashame for this to close

    4. Avatar photo Ben says:

      If you have FTTP available then it’ll be better. If you don’t then this won’t affect you (yet).

    5. Avatar photo Jason says:

      The beauty of having G.Fast is that i dont need any unsightly cabling showing from a FTTP install . I get to retain everything how it is and if it works well and gives me everything i need and more i just wouldnt change it

    6. Avatar photo Martin Warby says:

      I guess the issue is if you have gfast and no FTTP, there will now be even less ISPs selling gfast to new customers

  3. Avatar photo Karen says:

    Good to learn the lessons on something small. They then know what to do when they remove FTTC in years to come

  4. Avatar photo Phil says:

    I am on G.fast 267/42 but I do agree with Openreach once FTTP become available I will switch to FTTP 330/50 because the pricing for FTTP will be much cheaper than expensive G.fast.

  5. Avatar photo Adam says:

    I know g.fast was not a very good product, and it was more of a marketing ploy to get 330mbit to multiple customers quickly. But it seems a shame that there has been overbuild of gyro where g.fast was available. So not only did some customers have 80/20 vdsl, up to 330/50 (idk the upload speed), but they now get the option of full fibre. Meanwhile vast swathes of the country get sub 40/10 speeds, and some are stuck on sub 10 speeds.

    If they had prioritised fttp to those without g.fast as an option, then there would be much better pr for bt/openreach

  6. Avatar photo Goodfellow says:

    I’ve got g.fast and its great, my pole has been missed by the FTTP rollout. However, once they’ve replaced/fixed it I may end up with a choice between a potentially heavily contended PON or be the last line standing in the g.fast cabinet. Choices, hmmmm

  7. Avatar photo Keith Bagley says:

    Hi all this talk about fibre I’m lucky to get 61 meg I live Pennwithick in Cornwall they have nothing to improve it
    Then the companys charge extra each year
    although your still in contract I’ve now
    changed to 12 month contract so I don’t
    have to pay extra to these greedy firms

  8. Avatar photo Christopher Durant says:

    I live at gwel an mor Portreath and we have full FTTP I have the 1gb connection although i would never go back to FTTC why would anyone stay on FTTC if Fttp is available.

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