BT Details Coverage for their First 330Mbps G.fast Broadband Pilot Areas - ISPreview UK
Openreach (BT) has today officially started to switch-on the pilot locations for their new 330Mbps capable G.fast broadband technology, which has spent the past few months being deployed to 138,000 UK premises. As part of that we’ve also got some new coverage details.

At present BT aims to make “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) speeds available to 12 million UK homes and businesses via a mix Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) and hybrid-fibre G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) technology by the end of 2020, with many more expected to follow by 2025. Most of their plan is dominated by G.fast (10 million premises), although Openreach are consulting on a “large scaleFTTP roll-out (here).

However today our focus is on the hybrid-fibre G.fast service, which will offer two product tiers with download speeds of up to 160Mbps (30Mbps upload) and up to 330Mbps (30Mbps upload).

Kim Mears, Openreach MD for Infrastructure Delivery, said:

“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.”
The technology itself works in a similar way to FTTC (VDSL2) by running a fibre optic cable to your local PCP Street Cabinet, which is then fitted with an extension “pod” (right side) that houses the G.fast line cards (currently handles up to 48 ports, but extending to 96 this summer).



Properties that exist less than 350 metres from this cabinet (copper line distance) should be able to receive close to the best download speeds, although poor home wiring can be a hindrance and speeds fall away rapidly on longer line lengths (500 metres is about the current limit). Check out the initial wholesale pricing, which may help you to understand how much it will cost to buy.

Future improvements may help the coverage situation and further down the road we may also see Openreach deploying G.fast deeper into their network via FTTdp (i.e. smaller nodes built closer to properties). Otherwise we already know of 17 UK locations that are benefiting from the G.fast pilot, not to mention Antrim in Northern Ireland. Other additions to this list include Newbury (Berkshire), Newmarket (Suffolk) and South Clapham (London).

Today Openreach has finally started to release, albeit in a very piecemeal way, some details on precisely which parts of the initial pilot locations will be able to order the service.

G.fast Pilot Coverage
* Derby, Derbyshire
13,000 premises in places like Darley, Derwent and Mackworth.
* Edinburgh + Glasgow, Scotland
16,900 premises in parts of Sighthill, Gorgie, Corstorphine, Murrayfield, Fountainbridge, Craiglockhart, the Meadows and Morningside in Edinburgh. Parts of Linn and Rutherglen in Glasgow will also benefit.
* Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
12,600 premises in places like All Saints, Battledown, Charlton Kings, Landsdown, Leckhampton, Oakley, Park, Pittville, St Mark’s, St Paul’s, St Peter’s and Warden Hill.
* St Austell, Cornwall
3,000 premises in parts of the wards of St Austell Bay, Bethel, Gover, Poltair, Mount Charles, St Mewan and Penwithick and Boscoppa.
* Cherry Hinton (Cambridgeshire), Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) and Newmarket (Suffolk)
13,000 premises in places like Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, Histon and Petersfield.
4,500 premises in places like Godmanchester, Huntingdon East, Huntingdon West, Brampton and Huntingdon North.
4,500 premises in places such as All Saints, Severals and St Mary’s.
* Luton, Bedfordshire
19,000 premises in places like South Luton, Round Green, Wigmore and Biscot.
* Greater Manchester
25,000 premises in areas of Bolton, such as Heaton and Lostock and areas of Manchester such as Rusholme and Longsight.
* Swansea, Wales
12,500 premises in places like Uplands, Sketty, Gowerton and Townhill.

At present we’ve yet to see any public packages for G.fast and the vast majority of ISPs do not offer such a product, although Openreach’s website highlights BT, Zen Internet and AAISP as potential providers (it’s unclear if that is only for FTTP or also G.fast). We will update this article with more locations as they are published.

Now for those who care, here’s what the inside of a G.fast extension pod looks like.