Openreach Confirms Faster Fibre Speeds From 1 April

Openreach is to offer Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the UK two new ‘turbo-charged’ speed tiers, so they can deliver much faster fibre broadband speeds to customers located within the Full Fibre network.

Openreach confirmed to Silicon UK that the two new speed tiers that ISPs will be able to offer their customers, will deliver download speeds of either 1.2Gbps or 1.8Gbps.

Both those tiers will also offer incredible upload speeds of 120Mbps.

These new faster speeds will only be available for those UK customers lucky enough to be located within Openreach’s fibre to the premise (FTTP) network footprint, which is currently reaching 13 million homes and businesses across the UK.

BT Open Reach Rebrand. London. Picture Steve O’Connell 21-06-17

Faster fibre

There are 26.4 million homes in the UK (as of 2021), plus 3.2 million business premises, so Openreach engineers will remain very busy trying to reach those homes and business premises currently outside the FTTP footprint.

And customers eager to get their hands on these new faster FTTP speeds will have to wait until 1 April – the date when they can then order these new fibre speed tiers from their respective ISPs.

It should be remembered that at the moment, Openreach’s current top speed FTTP tier for ISPs is a download speed of up to 1Gbps (with 115Mbps upload for homes and 220Mbps for business lines).

Openreach notes that ‘real-world’ average download speeds start at around 900Mbps.

The fibre network provider said that its current pilot for both new FTTP tiers “have performed exceptionally well with early adopter EE’s test results showing consistently solid performance, with a number of other Communication Providers (i.e. ISPs) now joining the trials.”

Openreach said that any new end customers signing up to a Full Fibre service will have a new fibre ‘Optical Network Terminal’ or ONT – the box that allows fibre optic cable to be connected from inside a person’s home, out through their property and to the fibre network at the street, fitted as standard, enabling them to choose one of the new ‘turbo-charged’ services.

Customers with an existing Full Fibre (or FTTP) service, can upgrade to the new speed tiers via a ‘box-swap’, where an Openreach engineer will replace their existing ONT with a newer model.

Communication Providers or ISPs will also need to supply more capable routers.

Need for speed

And it seems that there is growing demand for much faster fibre broadband speeds from customers.

“Demand for high-definition streaming, online gaming, video conferencing, and other bandwidth-intensive applications has spurred a huge increase in how much broadband data we all use – and consumption is rising every single year,” said Openreach product manager Matthew Sledge.

“Our new turbo-charged speed tiers demonstrate how our Full Fibre network is future proofed to meet these ever growing demands,” said Sledge.

“And with the largest Full Fibre footprint in the UK – we’ve made sure these new speeds can provide the biggest benefit and are available to all 13 million homes and businesses that can access our Full Fibre network – whether people are living in a city, town or small remote village.”

Openreach’s announcement for much faster fibre broadband speeds will give ISPs using its fibre network a premium offering to compete against the plan announced last week by Virgin Media O2.

That Virgin Media O2 plan offers UK residential customers a 2Gbps broadband service (providing of course they are within Virgin Media’s network footprint).

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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