Openreach is at the beginning of a journey to 12 million premises with ultrafast broadband available to them, 10 million via G.fast pods and another 2 million with full fibre (FTTP, 1 million are likely to be business premises). G.fast has had it seems lots of trials and pilots but the scale is starting to ramp up and in a series of press releases BT Group and Openreach1 has given some rough details for where G.fast will be appearing next. So for example we are expecting to see G.fast appear in parts of Sighthill, Gorgie, Corstorphine, Murrayfield, Fountainbridge, Craiglockhart, the Meadows and Morningside in Edinburgh and parts of Linn and Rutherglen in Glasgow with that giving Scotland some 16,900 premises of coverage. The various pilot areas are already said to cover some 100,000 premises. The 20 main pilot locations across the UK are:
- Bolton, Greater Manchester
- Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Derby, Derbyshire
- Donaldson, Edinburgh
- Gillingham, Kent
- Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
- Langside, Glasgow
- Luton, Bedfordshire
- Newbury, Berkshire
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Newmarket, Suffolk
- Rusholme, Manchester
- St. Austell, Cornwall
- South Clapham, Balham and Upton Park, London
- Swansea, Wales
- Swindon, Wiltshire
- Sheffield, South Yorkshire
G.fast is designed to allow those within a few hundred metres of their cabinet to get ultrafast speeds between 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps and initially two product speeds are likely to be sold up to 160 Mbps and up to 330 Mbps.
Indicative wholesale pricing is available, but with the impact a user can have on peak bandwidth ulitisation we may see retail pricing that is somewhat different once the service fully launches. We have been seeing people testing with G.fast and generally it does seem to do what it says on the tin and we may be able to share some average speeds for G.fast in a month or two. We know of 25 cabinets where G.fast is currently available and these are (NOTE: some cabinets may not offer full coverage due to different delivery methods from early trials or distance from cabinet):
- Cambridge Central cabinets 24, 37, 38, 50, 59 and 88
- Cherry Hinton cabinets 36,38,39 and 42
- Cambridge Science Park cabinets 21 and 22
- Huntingdon cabinet 61
- Edinburgh Donaldson cabinet 13
- Gillingham cabinets 9 and 19
- Hoo cabinets 2 and 3
- Medway cabinet 37
- Strood cabinet 28
- Gosforth cabinet 42
- Luton cabinet 91
- Swansea Central cabinet 64
- St Austell cabinets 5 and 11
Our checkers know about G.fast with it mentioned explicitly on our speeds and coverage site2 but on the main site checker3 as the products are not live, i.e. nothing to appear in listings it only shows up as faster speeds than would normally be expected from FTTC. Our cabinet list is not definitive as our core focus is on tracking the superfast roll-outs, so if your is missing please do run a speed test from your G.fast connection4 or drop us a message to tell us your cabinet has one of the new pods attached.
Openreach is often criticised for rolling out G.fast since those who can get it already have VDSL2 at reasonable speeds already available, but with Ofcom planning to slash the revenue that is generated from VDSL2 (specifically the 40/10 product) this is forcing the hand of Openreach i.e. to make money and lever the benefits from the fibre and power that was installed for VDSL2 the faster G.fast services are needed may help to keep the return on investment on track. The 2 million FTTP premises in the ultrafast roll-outs are a slightly different matter as we can see many exchange only lines in city centres where FTTP is now planned, but as with Virgin Media and CityFibre roll-outs we are waiting for the complaints about roadworks, since while Openreach has duct access in many locations, pavement chambers may need expanding or blockages need clearing. In terms of market competition the speeds will take Openreach and its customers head to head with Virgin Media, but once DOCSIS 3.1 is properly launched they should be able to easily offer even higher speeds, the big question mark is what will the relative performance of the two competing platforms be.
The congestion and other issues at Virgin Media is already causing those where performance is important e.g.
gamers and twitch broadcasters to switch to services that have lower headline speeds but are much more consistent in terms of latency and the actual speed they get at peak times.
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A Cornwall town will now see some of the fastest internet speeds in the country. It comes as thousands of people benefit from a new ‘ultrafast’ broadband network which is being piloted by operator Openreach. More than 3,000 households and businesses in and around the town are connected to the new service, known as G.fast, which provides download speeds of up to 330Mbps – more than 10 times the UK average.
This means that downloading a two hour HD film could take just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show just 16 seconds and a nine-hour audio book three seconds. People living in the pilot areas who want to try the new service should contact their internet service provider to see if they’re offering a service, and to find out more about availability and pricing. The areas to benefit from the G.fast pilot include parts of the wards of St Austell Bay, Bethel, Gover, Poltair, Mount Charles, St Mewan and Penwithick and Boscoppa.
Emma Howarth, Openreach’s programme director for network delivery in the South West, said: “A huge amount of effort and substantial investment has already taken place in the development of this exciting new technology.
“So I’m delighted to announce that we can now start connecting people in St Austell and at the 19 other locations around the country.
“These pilot schemes are hugely important to us and to the local households and businesses, which will be able to benefit from G.fast.
“Whether you are somebody aiming to work more efficiently or grow your business, or a household going online for shopping, entertainment or studies, fast access to the internet has never been more important.
“We know the technology works and can be a major benefit for customers, but these pilots will now help us test and improve all the factors involved in rolling out G.fast on a national scale.”
Kim Mears, Openreach managing director for infrastructure delivery, added: “The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to superfast broadband but technology never stands still – that’s why we’re building on our existing fibre network and leading the way in deploying ultrafast speeds.
“We need to stay ahead in order to meet the evolving needs of our customers. G.fast will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date.
“It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast, and it will reach the largest number of people in the quickest possible time.”
St Austell was announced as a pilot location for G.fast in October 2016 as part of Openreach’s ambition to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million UK homes by the end of 2020. G.fast technology changes the way today’s broadband is transmitted, delivering ultrafast speeds that have previously required fibre to be run all the way to the premises (FTTP).
This is significant as G.fast will enable Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, to make ultrafast fibre available to a much larger number of homes and businesses and more quickly than if it had focused on FTTP alone. Following early trials of G.fast in Cambridgeshire, Gosforth and South Wales, the 20 pilot areas have extended that reach even further – already reaching more than 100,000 homes across the UK. People wanting to take advantage of the new technology can find out more here1.
4:40am 1st June 2017
Ely Spring Budget: Farmers await details on Chancellor’s rural broadband plans
Author: FarmingUK Published: 7th March 2017 16:51
Spring Budget: Farmers await details on Chancellor’s rural broadband plans In December last year, the government announced plans to bring superfast broadband to some of the country’s most remote communities. Farmers have said they would like to see further details on superfast broadband plans in the Chancellor’s spring budget announcement tomorrow.
In December last year, the government announced plans to bring superfast broadband to some of the country’s most remote communities. Now, internet speeds are set to improve for millions as part of a major push by ministers to roll out ‘super fast’ 5G mobile phone coverage. But last October, the NFU said the current rural broadband roll-out is ‘not sufficient’ to meet the needs of most farmers.
“I employ four people and in 50% of the farm we can’t get in contact with each other over the mobile,” said one farmer. “We sometimes have no connection, but on average have between 0.3 and 0.6 Mbps. “Our biggest hurdle is not being able to attract potential tenants to our converted sheds to offices, as the connection is too weak,” said another respondent. Tim Jones, head of rural at Carter Jonas said: “The benefits would be significant enabling businesses in remote parts of the country to compete with their urban counterparts.”
Economic prosperity The plans are part of a ?1 billion investment in research and development. Mr Jones said ‘levelling the playing field’ between more accessible rural areas and those that are currently less connected will spread economic prosperity. Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Tory MP who chairs a parliamentary rural broadband group, told the Telegraph: “Every party in the UK has been saying this needs to be rolled out as fast as possible. It is hugely important and absolutely vital. “The percentage of people who now work at home in rural areas is going up massively.
Small businesses nowadays have to have high-speed broadband. You can’t run a business without it.” The government is expected to offer incentives to invest in full-fiber networks by offering vouchers to local businesses to encourage take-up where new networks are built and upgrading connections to public buildings, such as schools and hospitals.
‘Major breakthrough’ CLA Deputy President Tim Breitmeyer said: “The Government’s commitment to a broadband universal service obligation was a major breakthrough for those of us who have campaigned for an end to the discrimination felt by those that live and work in the countryside. “The day this legal right to a superfast broadband connection becomes law cannot come a day too soon and we support the MPs’ challenge to government to see if it can be brought in earlier than the current target of end of 2020.
“MPs have challenged Government and BT to rethink their longstanding strategy of targeting the easiest to reach premises first and their reliance on the existing copper wire network rather than fibre-optic, mobile or other wireless connection methods. “MPs are right to point out the risks of this strategy in failing to end the digital divide between our towns and countryside. “Rural communities and small alternative providers need immediate clarity from Openreach as to the extent of their roll-out plans for fibre, so that other solutions can be chosen if required.”
‘Cut costs’ The NFU said there are social, economic and environmental benefits’ of connecting the final 5%, especially for the delivery of a sustainable and productive agricultural sector. The group said: “We need to be able to use the technology to farm more efficiently to meet the needs of our growing population and compete in the international markets.
“Farmers with poor connectivity cannot use the full range of agricultural technology. “They spend time traveling back and forth to signal hot-spots and have to outsource their management of online finance and regulatory systems. “Online compliance can cuts costs for both the government and farmers.”