BT Wholesale now showing availability of WBC-FTTP Gigabit service
For many years the maximum download speed of the WBC FTTP and GEA-FTTP services from BT Wholesale and Openreach respectively has been 330 Mbps, the 50 Mbps upload variant appeared sometime to match the G.fast product set and today thanks to an eagle eyed forum user we can confirm that some FTTP areas across the UK are showing the option for a 1000 Mbps download and 220 Mbps upload as the fastest service.
Of course now that the big name wholesaler (BT Wholesale) is listing the service does not mean we will see the retail options suddenly leap overnight. One of the reasons the service is not available in all GEA-FTTP areas as yet is because we believe that it will only be offered to FTTP areas where the fibre handover node has access to the 10 Gbps handover links.
For those looking for bargain basement pricing they will be upset, since there is a £500+VAT install fee on the 500/165 and 1000/220 FTTP variants (for slower speeds it is £92+VAT and an extra £5 is added by BT Wholesale), which is to cover the extra costs of the XGPON hardware needed in the network. Standard GPON splits 2.5 Gbps between the users, and XGPON increases the availability capacity to 10 Gbps, so if you had 3 Gigabit customers on GPON there would be immediate contention, hence the shift up to the next standard. It should be added that this does not stop other GPON operators selling Gigabit connections over their own FTTP network and in some countries we believe some even sell a full 2.5 Gbps GPON service. For services such as B4RN they have avoided this conundrum by installing dedicated point to point fibres to every premises with the data only being shared once all the fibres in an reach the active hardware cabinet.
|Product||Openreach Pricing||BT Wholesale Pricing|
|Monthly Data Only pricing excluding VAT|
|FTTP 330/50||£38||£53 (*)|
(*) The BT Wholesale price actually lists a price of £35 but given the Openreach pricing which is identical for the 330/30 and 330/50 services we believe someone transposed the figures on the BT Wholesale WBC price list so are showing £53/m.
Two sets of FTTP pricing exist, we have shown the Data only version which includes the 1000 and 500 products, for those with an existing copper line to their premises there is a second transitioning price list which is a simple £9/m cheaper, but that £9 is swamped by the reality that to get the transitional pricing you need to take a voice line rental product.
The difference between Openreach and BT Wholesale pricing reflects the additional costs BT Wholesale incur from buying the GEA Cablelink from Openreach which connects the data into the WBC backhaul network. Retail pricing is again substantially higher as providers have to buy appropriate levels of capacity from BT Wholesale and the other elements of running a service.
We also checked a random FTTP location on the Lisburn exchange in Northern Ireland and the 1000/220 maximum speed option was showing. The next big step is for retailers to start selling the service, but given the high install cost we believe this will most likely be the providers who focus on business users.