Openreach Suspends G.fast Broadband Rollout Until 2021

Openreach is suspending the deployment of its G.fast based “ultrafast broadband” network until April 2021, it has been reported.

According to ISPreview.co.uk, Openreach had paused the deployment of the G.fast network last year, when the operator opted to refocus its efforts on the rollout of fibre to the premise (FTTP).

It was back in 2016 that BT had first announced that it would connect 12 million homes in the UK to either FTTP, or G.fast.

G.Fast speeds

Unlike FTTP that relies on a full fibre connection in order to gain ultrafast speeds (1Gbps etc), G.Fast essentially speeds up copper connections using a combination of FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), and then the existing copper connection into the home or premise.

G.Fast can deliver speeds of up to 330 Mbps or even 500Mbps.

That said, BT in 2015 achieved speeds of 5Gbps using a copper connection in early lab trials of G.Fast, and claimed the tests show the technology is future-proof against future customer demands.

The former UK incumbent had already promised to deliver G.Fast to ten million homes and businesses by the end of 2020 and to the ‘majority’ of the UK by 2025.

The downside is that in order to benefit from G.Fast, the premise or house has to be within 100 to 300 metres of the green street cabinet.

It is reported that currently only 2.8 million premises in the UK are capable of receiving a G.fast service.

But now Openreach has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that it does not intend to build its G.fast based network to any more UK homes until April 2021, as it focuses of the FTTC deployment.

“We recently announced that we’ll be building Full Fibre broadband technology to 20m homes by the mid-to-late 2020s, so that’s our priority,” an Openreach spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk.

“We do still expect to use Gfast in some circumstances, but we don’t expect to be building Gfast to more premises this year,” the spokesperson reportedly said.

FTTP rollout

Boris Johnson in June 2019 called for a fibre rollout to ‘every home in the land’ in five years’ time (2025) – a decade earlier than current estimates.

Until that intervention, the government had previously set a goal of 2033 for the rollout of fibre to all premises.

Last month BT announced it was suspending its dividend (until 2022) to free up cash for investment in fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband and 5G.

The former UK incumbent said it would invest £12bn to deliver full fibre broadband (fibre to the premise or FTTP) to 20 million homes by the mid to late 2020s.

BT had previously pledged to reach 15 million homes with FTPP by 2025.

BT is also facing a bigger challenge in the years ahead after Virgin Media and mobile operator O2 recently announced they are going to merge and create a 50.50 joint venture.

Quiz: What do you know about BT, the UK’s biggest mobile and broadband provider?

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...

Recent Posts

Uber, Lyft Drivers Classified As Employees, Judge Rules

Gig economy change. Judge in California rules drivers for Uber and Lyft are employees, and…

6 hours ago

Tim Cook Now A Billionaire After Apple Share Surge

Welcome to the club. CEO Tim Cook now said to be a billionaire after almost…

7 hours ago

Police Use Of Facial Recognition Breached Privacy, Court Rules

Milestone ruling. The UK Court of Appeal rules use of automatic facial recognition (AFR) tech…

8 hours ago

Trump Administration Announces 5G Spectrum Auction

5G growth. The White House has announced a spectrum auction to strengthen “the United States’…

11 hours ago

Toshiba Confirms Exit From Laptop Sector

Japanese conglomerate sells its final stake in PC maker Dynabook, marking the end of 35…

12 hours ago

Researchers Uncover Stuxnet-Style Flaw In Windows

The zero-day vulnerability affects the same Windows component used by Stuxnet to attack critical infrastructure…

1 day ago