Openreach unveils ‘turbo-charged’ full-fibre gigabit broadband offer

Nation’s leading broadband provider reacts with new speed tiers to ‘massive network traffic surge’ due to demand for high-definition streaming, online gaming, video conferencing  and other bandwidth-intensive applications

As its rivals gear up to take advantage of advances in fibre optic technology to offer multi-gigabit broadband speeds, the UK’s leading broadband provider Openreach has notified the comms industry that it plans to offer customers what it calls ‘turbo-charged’ speed tiers for when ordering a service over its ultrafast full-fibre network.

The new speed tiers build on the existing fibre-to-the-home (FTTP) portfolio which presently offers end customers the fastest full-fibre download speeds of up to 1Gbps - 115Mbps upload for homes and 220Mbps for business lines – with ‘real-world’ average download speeds starting at around 900Mbps.

Available to order from 1 April 2024, the two new tiers, which will push download speeds to 1.2Gbps and 1.8Gbps – said by the company to offer end users speeds up to more than 20 times the current UK median average - with both offering upload speeds of 120Mbps, will be available across Openreach’s full-fibre network which now reaches 13 million homes and businesses across the UK.

Openreach says the new speed tiers will give its Communication Provider (CP) customers the opportunity to sell what it calls “true” 1G and 1.5G products. The provider adds that its current pilot for both new FTTP tiers have performed “exceptionally well” with early adopter test results at its EE mobile division showing “consistently solid performance”. A number of other communication providers have now joined the trials.

“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, commenting on the launch.

“Our new turbo-charged speed tiers demonstrate how our full-fibre network is future proofed to meet these ever-growing demands. 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.”

Any new end customers signing up to a full-fibre service will have a new fibre optical network terminal (ONT) fitted as standard, enabling them to choose one of the new services. Customers with an existing full-fibre 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 will though also need to supply more capable routers.

Read more about gigabit broadband in the UK

  • Four-fifths of UK gains access to gigabit broadband: Drive by leading commercial players and Project Gigabit programme sees milestone for gigabit broadband in UK including access for almost a million premises in so-called hard-to-reach places.
  • UK gigabit broadband furthers reach: DSIT releases figures showing 2023 state-funded investment of more than £500m in gigabit connectivity, boosting broadband for over 330,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses across the country.
  • Virgin Media O2 switches on 2Gbps broadband, symmetrical speed options: XGS-PON technology-based Gig2 becomes first residential 2Gbps service from UK provider to go live for sale, designed to help power future technologies from AI to immersive and cloud gaming.
  • CityFibre wins five new Project Gigabit contracts: Leading UK independent full-fibre network provider gains added stake in UK government’s £5bn gigabit broadband programme, subsidising infrastructure roll-out to over 202,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses across rural areas in UK’s southern counties and Midlands.

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