ISP BT Launch 152Mbps and 314Mbps UK Ultrafast Broadband G.fast UPDATE2

ISP BT Launch 152Mbps and 314Mbps UK Ultrafast Broadband G.fast UPDATE2

UK internet provider BT has today launched a new range of “ultrafast fibre broadband” packages to support both the latest hybrid fibre G.fast and “full fibreFTTP technologies, which offer download speeds of up to 152Mbps and 314Mbps. On top of that there’s a 100Mbps “speed guarantee.”[1] Previously the ISP only offered a 200Mbps (20Mbps upload) and 300Mbps (30Mbps upload) service under the Infinity 3 and 4 tiers respectively, which made use of the operator’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP[2]) technology.

However Openreach[3] has been busy rolling their new hybrid fibre G.fast technology to 1 million UK premises, which forms part of an initial pilot and under ideal circumstances this service can reach a similar top speed. On top of that Openreach[4] has already moved to streamline the speed profiles of their FTTP and G.fast services in order to make the cost different between their wholesale 160Mbps (up to 152Mbps) and 330Mbps (up to 300Mbps) tiers as small as possible. Today BT have predictably become one of the first ISPs to take advantage of this by launching their new BT ULTRAFAST 1 and 2 packages[5] to harness both G.fast and FTTP for the same price.

In terms of upload speeds, they appear to follow the wholesale tiers and thus BT Ultrafast 1 should offer uploads of up to 29Mbps and BT Ultrafast 2 should deliver up to 49Mbps.

Package Highlights

As you’d expect the new packages include all of the usual features, such as unlimited usage, 18 month contract, line rental, access to BT’s national UK network of public WiFi hotspots, unlimited UK weekend calls, BT Parental Controls, BT Virus Protect and 1000GB of BT Cloud storage. On top of that subscribers will also receive the new Smart Hub X router, which looks like the normal Smart Hub but includes a built-in G.fast modem and an extra telephone port (details here[7]).[6] One interesting highlight of the new packages is that BT are also promoting them alongside a 100Mbps speed guarantee, which appears to be understandably aligned with the G.fast Fault Threshold[8].

The ISP explains: “We want you to feel confident Ultrafast Fibre won’t let you down. So if your speed ever falls below 100Mb, we’ll give you GBP20 compensation” (it’s suggested that the same may also apply if your uploads fall below 10Mbps). At the time of writing new customers can also expect to receive a GBP110 BT Reward Card (i.e. a pre-paid MasterCard) when they sign-up, but take note that both packages do charge a one-off GBP59.99 setup fee upfront.

BT ULTRAFAST 1 (up to 152Mbps)
PRICE: GBP54.99 per month

BT ULTRAFAST 2 (up to 314Mbps)
PRICE: GBP59.99 per month

At present Openreach’s FTTP and G.fast network only has very limited coverage (less than a million premises combined), although G.fast is expected to ramp up to cover 10 million premises by the end of 2020 and over the same time period we’ve been told to expect FTTP to reach 2 million premises (12 million total); this roughly reflects around 40% UK coverage. Openreach has also hinted at an aspiration to push FTTP out to 10 million premises by around 2025, although this is still the subject of some significant internal debate due to the cost (between GBP3bn to GBP6bn) and regulatory challenges of delivering such a rollout without recourse to state aid support (here[9]). We expect other UK ISPs to take the wraps off their retail G.fast pricing in the very near future.

NOTE: BT doesn’t specifically tout FTTP or G.fast technology on the new packages, although we ran a check on postcodes for several FTTP only and G.fast only areas to confirm that the same packages appeared for both. UPDATE 11:52am We’ve just had a comment from BT.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT Consumer, said:

“We are the first and only company to guarantee speeds of 100Mbps for our customers, even at peak times when people really need their broadband to deliver. Ultrafast technology is going to be a vital part of a transformation in the speed that our customers receive. Whether it is six in the evening or six in the morning, with Ultrafast Fibre everyone can be online at the same time, streaming, downloading and gaming.

Rather than spending hours downloading TV shows or films to their smartphone or tablet, they’ll be able to do it in minutes. Customers will have complete peace of mind that they can always rely on Ultrafast Fibre, backed up by the promise that we’ll give them GBP20 if their speed ever falls below 100Mbps.”

One small point. BT might wish to caveat the “first and only company to guarantee speeds of 100Mbps for our customers” claim by specifically highlighting it as a reference to residential broadband provision (although this is implied by the new packages).

A lot of business leased lines could be said to “guarantee” significantly faster speeds to their customers.

UPDATE 1:19pm

BT has confirmed that the upload speeds are 29Mbps and 49Mbps.

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References

  1. ^ FTTP (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  2. ^ FTTP (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  3. ^ Openreach (www.openreach.co.uk)
  4. ^ Openreach (www.openreach.co.uk)
  5. ^ BT ULTRAFAST 1 and 2 packages (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  6. ^ WiFi (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  7. ^ details here (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  8. ^ G.fast Fault Threshold (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  9. ^ here (www.ispreview.co.uk)

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