Openreach announces a bunch of new Gfast locations

In spite of heavy pressure to raise its fibre game, BT’s supposedly autonomous wholesale unit Openreach has proudly unveiled a major extension of its Gfast programme.

Referring to its as ‘cutting edge technology’, Openreach announced it’s adding 59 new locations to the 46 already served by Gfast, which extracts improved performance from legacy copper cables. Apparently this will help to ‘reinforce the UK’s position as the leading digital economy in the G20.’

“Britons are using their home broadband connections more than ever – consuming more than double the amount of data than they did just three years ago,” advised Kim Mears, MD for Strategic Infrastructure Development at Openreach. “A mass of new apps and services which demand higher quality broadband connections are becoming parts of our daily lives in our homes and at work – like virtual and augmented reality and more sophisticated online gaming, education and healthcare. That’s why we’re making this huge investment in upgrading the network, to make sure we stay a step ahead of that demand.”

The Openreach spin on Gfast is that it enables more of the country to get faster broadband speeds more quickly than if we just sat and waited for the fibre-to-the-premise rollout to run its course. Having said that Openreach was also quick to stress how totally into fibre it still is and to restate its vague ‘10 million premises by the mid-2020s’ pledge.

Here’s the full list of places that will live the Gfast dream by some unspecified date: Aberdeen Denburn, Acocks Green, Altrincham, Aylesbury, Bedford, Birmingham Central, Bishops Stortford, Boscombe, Bowes Park, Bury St. Edmunds, Bury, Byfleet, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Cosham, Didsbury, Erdington, Gipsy Hill, Guildford, Hampton, Harlow, Harrogate, Headingley, Heywood, Kingston, Lancaster, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Llantrisant, Maidstone, Market Harborough, Mile End, Morley, Narborough, North Finchley, Paignton, Plymouth, Rugby, Shipley, Slough, South Kensington, Southampton, Southend Town, St Albans, Stockton Heath, Swadlincote, Tamworth, Taunton, Telford Wellington, Tunbridge Wells, Walthamstow, Weston Super Mare, Windsor, Wolverhampton, Woodhouse (Berkshire), Woodley, York.

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  1. Avatar Matt 03/07/2018 @ 2:17 pm

    Wow. Can’t believe how biased the author of this article is against Openreach.

    “supposedly autonomous wholesale unit” – As most already know, Openreach was formed in an agreement with Ofcom in order to keep the end user service provision and the network ownership arms of BT as separate entities. BT had agreed to it and despite losing the vast majority of their profitable business they have done so. Openreach has been around for sometime now but has only just within the last 6 months truly lost all ties but a connecting HR department with BT. Given the vastness of the BT at the time the agreement was made I’m not as hasty to criticise the past connectedness of the two companies. They figuratively cut off their head from their body and lived through it – not bad going at all in my book.

    Ofcom made this agreement with BT in order to provide a more open market to potential rivals in this sector but the sector has always been open, I fail to see how it is BT’s fault for the lack of investors willing to make a serious investment in the industry before it’s split.

    Openreach still have their promise of new FTTP circuits but expecting them to roll out the full network overnight is ludicrous. Openreach have this year a lone invested in hiring, training, and providing tools for 3,500 new engineers, with ideas in the pipeline for these engineers to also receive training for FTTP provision, alongside investment on training existing field engineers.

    The article talks about GFast as if it’s a useless technology on a legacy product. As some may already know the limits of copper are derived mainly by the resistive properties of copper, which increases with distance and environment/ATP. The distance of copper lines are very short with GFast as the technology brings a fibre circuit to a localised area, with copper ports to existing line plant at end user properties. With current technology and the properties of existing copper the existing lines are in theory capable of carrying transmissions of around 150Mb/s downstream band, which is in league with Iceland’s average line speeds (the 2nd fastest globally). With GFast bringing a fibre service to local copper these speeds would be achievable, where previous DSLAM at cab or FTTC technologies could previously only reach 80Mb/s and with a much larger service area, meaning more drop-off range.

    Suggesting, as this article does, that GFast is a wasted investment is misinformed and just plainly wrong. Not only is this technology providing rapid improvement to nationally connection speeds it also brings a lot of fibre cables into local streets and estates, something that could be harness by their FTTP project. A very wise investment indeed and something that can only be could for the UK population.

    So well done for bad mouthing a good job.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 03/07/2018 @ 2:29 pm

      Alright mate, calm down.

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