Ultrafast Fibre 1 and 2 offer customers speeds up to 152Mbps and 314Mbps respectively
BT is guaranteeing customers minimum ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps in its two new services. Ultrafast Fibre 1 and 2 offer speeds up to 152Mbps and 314Mbps respectively. According to Ofcom the average broadband speed in the UK is 44Mbps.
Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 will retail from GBP54.99 and GBP59.99 respectively. Customers who sign up for the packages would get GBP20 in compensation if speeds drop below 100Mbps four times a year. But only 250,000 UK homes, across 46 locations, in Armley in West Yorkshire to Whitchurch in South Glamorgan and Donaldson in Edinburgh.
The technology behind the new services is called G.Fast, Openreach aims to have the technology rolled out to 10 million premises by 2020. Virgin Media offers a similar service while newcomer Hyperoptic is installing fibre-optic cables that can offer speeds up to 1,000Mbps to 80 apartments in London this week. It plans to offer services to five million homes by 2025.
Consideration Broadband Genie spokesperson Rob Hilborn said: “We recommend those that are able to upgrade to these packages first consider a standard fibre package rather than simply jumping up to the fastest package available. “For most, this will be more than adequate and save you a significant amount of cash.”
ThinkBroadband co-founder Andrew Ferguson added: “The new service is aimed at those who can already get fairly good speeds, but with its largest competitor, Virgin Media, pushing hard with 200-350Mbps products, BT Consumer is now able to offer something with similar speeds which is probably critical to maintaining market share.”
Consumers are being guaranteed minimum speeds of 100Mbps in two new ultrafast broadband services from BT. Those who signed up to either package would get GBP20 compensation if their internet download speed fell below 100Mbps, up to four times a year, according to BT. But only 250,000 homes will be able to access the services – a fraction of all internet-connected premises.
A price comparison site also questioned the “hefty” cost of the services. The Ultrafast Fibre 1 and 2 packages are now available in 46 locations, from Armley in West Yorkshire to Whitchurch in South Glamorgan and Donaldson in Edinburgh. They offer speeds of up to 152Mbps and 314Mbps respectively, and both come with speed guarantees.
According to Ofcom, the average internet download speed in the UK stands at 44Mbps. Similar services are offered by Virgin Media, while relative newcomer Hyperoptic is installing fibre-optic cables that will offer speeds of 1,000Mbs to 80 luxury apartments in London.
‘Hefty price tag’
Rob Hilborn, of switching site Broadband Genie, welcomed BT’s speed guarantee but said the new services, which will cost from GBP54.99 and GBP59.99, were expensive. “We recommend those that are able to upgrade to these packages first consider a standard fibre package rather than simply jumping up to the fastest package available,” he said.
“For most, this will be more than adequate and save you a significant amount of cash.” Andrew Ferguson, co-founder of broadband news site ThinkBroadband, said: “The new service is aimed at those who can already get fairly good speeds, but with its largest competitor, Virgin Media, pushing hard with 200-350Mbps products, BT Consumer is now able to offer something with similar speeds which is probably critical to maintaining market share. “With the rise of online gaming leagues, having a stable connection for gaming at home is becoming more important.
And in some areas Virgin Media has a legacy of being oversubscribed. Therefore, there may be lots of people willing to try an alternate service to see if the latency during gaming is more stable.” The underlying technology behind the services is something known as G.fast.
Openreach plans to roll out G.fast to 10 million premises by 2020. It has a shorter reach than the dominant fast broadband technology – known as VDSL2 – but the benefit is much higher speeds. According to Ofcom, the UK lags behind other countries in terms of its broadband speeds and reliability.
The regulator says just 840,000 premises have access to full fibre services and 1.1 million still cannot get “decent” broadband of at least 10Mbps. BT’s Openreach division, which maintains the UK’s broadband infrastructure, has been criticised in the past for delivering a poor service and favouring BT over rival suppliers. In 2017 Ofcom ordered BT to legally separate the company so that it could “serve all of its customers equally”.
The UK government in December promised to make access to speeds of at least 10Mbps a legal requirement by 2020.
Openreach had offered to carry out improvements according to its own timetable but the government rejected the offer.
At the time, Openreach said it accepted the government’s decision and wanted to “get on with the job of making decent broadband available to everyone in the UK”.
- ^ from Armley in West Yorkshire to Whitchurch in South Glamorgan and Donaldson in Edinburgh (www.productsandservices.bt.com)
- ^ at 44Mbps (www.ofcom.org.uk)
- ^ has been criticised in the past for delivering a poor service (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ to make access to speeds of at least 10Mbps a legal requirement by 2020 (www.bbc.co.uk)
Julian Sturdy MP chaired a packed out public meeting in Askham Bryan last night alongside Superfast West Yorkshire’s Programme Manager, John Bullivent and Rural West York councillor Chris Steward. The open meeting gave local residents the opportunity to discuss the recent delays in delivering broadband upgrades around York, which will see roll-out now scheduled for spring. Following the public meeting, Mr Sturdy said:
“The recent delays in delivering vital broadband upgrades to Askham Bryan, Askham Richard and Acaster Malbis were a great blow to residents.
My position on this is clear – there is no excuse for an urban-rural divide on broadband and villages should not be left behind. Villagers around York should have access to decent internet speeds and sadly this has not been the case for too long. The upgrades have been a long time coming and I share the frustration of residents following the recent delays.
I therefore organised this public meeting so residents could quiz Superfast West Yorkshire and help rebuild trust and confidence in the broadband roll-out programme. Whilst there was understandable disappointment that BT Openreach declined to attend, the meeting was productive and I am pleased to report that I will be meeting with BT Openreach alongside community representatives in the near future to further discuss roll-out plans. It is vital that at the meeting we get a clear plan for the delivery of superfast broadband to these villages.
There is also a key issue about the lack of communication and lack of accurate facts coming from BT and I will work closely with ward councillors Chris Steward, Ian Gillies and John Galvin to ensure this is rectified”.