Openreach announces next set of areas to get Gfast
The Gfast roll-out in the UK is part of the Openreach strategy to have rolled out ultrafast broadband to some 13 million premises by the end of 2020. The names of the next 59 locations to see the cabinet based roll out are now known, but as always remember that the roll-out is not to every cabinet in a location mentioned, so keep an eye on the availability of G.fast services, and our availability checker and package filters are we believe the only ones outside of the providers themselves that show availability.
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, York59 locations where G.fast will be rolled out to
The roll-out has had a muted response so far with only BT Consumer and TalkTalk of the largest providers selling the service, but for those who are already finding VDSL2 is not fast enough it is an option. Our tracking of the roll-out suggests that a great deal of the footprint so far is overlapping with Virgin Media and its ultrafast services and while the numbers of speed tests is still very small what we have seen suggests a better stability in terms of latency, so gamers will be able to get the latest patches quickly and should not suffer from rubber banding in games.
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. 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.Kim Mears, MD for Strategic Infrastructure Development
Gfast if it arrives on your existing cabinet has a much shorter reach than VDSL2, with service only available to those within around 300m to 400m of the cabinet. In the dense urban areas where the majority of the pods are appearing this is not too much of a problem, but if G.fast does become available to you it means that you will not be seeing Openreach roll-out their FTTP service to you (we expect this to change, but probably in the 2025 to 2033 period). Of course this does not stop Openreach from rolling out FTTP to other areas e.g. exchange only lines and new builds in towns and exchange areas.
The press release talks about the 46 locations where Gfast is currently available, and while our tracking is lagging at 292,000 premises compared to the figure of just under a million declared in the last financial results (we have concentrated on the superfast roll-outs, but speed tests are appearing more often so picking up more new areas now) we know of 70 exchanges where at least one Gfast pod is active. The difference between the 46 and 70 is down to larger towns and cities having multiple telephone exchanges.
The roll-out often gets criticised for bringing faster speeds to those who already have fast speeds, but the reality is that the majority of the Project Lightning roll-out is doing the same and so will the 1 million premises of Vodafone FTTP but we rarely see that complaint made about FTTP. The difference is most likely that people see FTTP delivery as meaning that nothing else needs to change for many decades, whereas Gfast is expected to have a lifespan of around a decade.