back to article BT to shoot 'up to 330Mbps' G.fast into 2,000 Gosforth homes

BT customers in Gosforth, Newcastle, are being given a chance to test copper's last hurrah, G.fast. The DSL standard G.fast is hoped to help the extension of broadband access to fibre-foiling locations. It has been cooked up in Suffolk by BT, Alcatel-Lucent and its Bell Labs research arm. BT claimed G.fast "eliminates the …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Excellent

    ... another quick massage to the 'average broadband speed' figures.

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Excellent

      Exactly what I was thinking. All I ever see is small scale trials by BT while every other poor sod on the network is left at anything between 1Mb to 20Mb is they're lucky. Meanwhile VM are rolling out 200Mb to homes across the country.

      1. Credas Silver badge

        Re: Excellent

        Meanwhile VM are rolling out 200Mb to homes across the half of the country that's already been cabled by their bankrupt predecessor companies.

        FTFY

      2. Tubz

        Re: Excellent

        Good luck getting 200Mb, hell good luck getting anywhere near what you paid for. Most areas are oversubscribed or just badly maintained and never reach the speeds.

        1. Bob H

          Re: Excellent

          I've been with VM for +5 years now and never experienced more than a short outage. I appreciate some regions might be over provisioned but it is certainly not universal.

          BT's G.Fast offering seems increasingly irrelevant with FTTP from Sky and TalkTalk and VM's upgrade cycle. It doesn't have to be long before VM increases to over 400Mbit/sec if they want. Once CityFibre have proven out the FTTP in York then things could roll out fast.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Excellent

            "BT's G.Fast offering seems increasingly irrelevant with FTTP from Sky and TalkTalk and VM's upgrade cycle."

            That might be true if you live in a city. If you live in a less urban area where Virgin and Sky will never go this might well be a great thing.

            1. Zmodem

              Re: Excellent

              probably more todo with https://www.cable.co.uk/news/royal-crescent-residents-part-fund-bath-superfast-broadband-cabinet-700000950/

              buildings ar`nt hard to rewire, from external to internal, its just a hole in your wall, council blocks only take a few days to rewire them all so you get freeview and freesat on the same cable

  2. leon clarke

    Copper's last hurrah

    I've hard that quite a few times before. I was going to say that I first heard it with V.90 but I think I may have heard it earlier than that.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Copper's last hurrah

      Copper definitely won't outlive CISC processors. Then we can have the year of the Linux desktop. While enjoying a good new Sonic the Hedgehog game, if the genuine peril in Doctor Who doesn't keep us awake. Having finally resolved the EU question with a referendum so that everybody from then on is in complete harmony will free up the time necessary to lay the fibre optics.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Copper's last hurrah

        All of the above powered by nuclear fusion :)

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Copper's last hurrah

          All of the above powered by nuclear fusion :)

          And just in time for video calls to family members off working in the lunar base.

    2. Wyrdness

      Re: Copper's last hurrah

      I'm pretty sure that I heard that some time in the late 80's, or possibly early 90's.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Copper's last hurrah

      Yes, calling it G.fast is a dead giveaway that G.faster is next, followed by G.ultra and then G.extreme!!! (the !!! will be part of the branding)

      1. leon clarke

        Re: Copper's last hurrah

        I'm waiting for G.fastest bis

  3. TechnoTechno

    How about you concentrate on getting the whole of Newcastle on speeds better than 10Mb/s first you bunch of bastards.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      It's not as black and white as that I'm afraid.

  4. ThomH Silver badge

    Standard kneejerk response

    Any hope of a reliable 3mbps in the Docklands? Or just more blah blah blah about the difficulties of upgrading historically non-residential wiring?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Standard kneejerk response

      My Brother lives in Docklands and gets a lot more than 3Mbit.

      I think some Kudos goes to BT for not doing this trial in... say somewhere like Silicon Roundabout or even Docklands. Those who live 'Up North' deserve decent speeds.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Standard kneejerk response @AC

        Rotherhithe Residents Call for Better Internet Speeds: "Never mind the ‘cyber highway’, Rotherhithe is stuck in the cyber slow-lane, after a new study confirmed that it was home to some of the slowest broadband speeds in the capital. [...] As the News reported last June, there is a better broadband connection on the moon than in Rotherhithe"

      2. Thomas Chippendale

        Re: Standard kneejerk response

        I don't really see why speeds around EC1, should not be worth investing in. It is a real peculiarity that neither FTTC nor VM are available in most of the city of Westminster or any of the city of London (though I think they are in some of the outer boroughs.)

        At my own home in EC2, I struggled to get a reliable DSL connection above 3mbps. Eventually my building installed a private fibre network which is 1gbps to the home (and to my surprise is genuinely and regularly capable of a real-world 900mbps.) But this option is not feasible for single homes or smaller blocks, and was implemented simply because the connections available via OpenReach were so poor there was little option.

        Internet speeds at work in EC1, EC2, WC1, WC2 and W1 are terrible too. The whole of Central London seems to have no FTTC, and no due date.

        It is a mystery why the market is neglected so. I did look into what the options were for improving broadband speed if you are in an area with poor speeds. There is an entire government website about this, but it suggests the solution is to request funding for your area for 'rural broadband'. It does not say what the best course of action is to improve urban broadband.

        Not sure if its policy to leave out London, or if it's technical (perhaps a different sort of exchange?)

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Standard kneejerk response

          A couple of points spring to mind; firstly a lot of the improvements to broadband services have been funded by County Councils putting in quite significant sums of money to enable BT to provide FTTC - as a result quite small villages in some parts of the country have quite good services. Since Gosforth was the "subject" of this thread a few miles north of there the villages of Embleton and Bamborough (both on the Northumbrian coast) have FTTC, and neither could ever be described as a metropolis; they would not be pleasant holiday destinations if they were. Thus it may be that some locations have not had an upgrade simply becuase the local authority would not put up the cash to fund it.

          That would not really explain any shortcomings in London, though. On the face of it FTTC should be easy as it is densely populated and would not require fibre to be pulled in over great distances just to get anywhere near the customers. However (and this is my second point) I found myself wondering last night if there might be some inherent problem in finding pavement space to install the necessary additional cabinets close to the existing ones; any Londoners on here care to comment?

          Having written that it does seem a little improbable, but there has to be some reason...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Standard kneejerk response

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/02/muswell_hill/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Standard kneejerk response

          "Not sure if its policy to leave out London, or if it's technical (perhaps a different sort of exchange?)"

          My understanding from talking to a man with a clipboard is that its largely down to pavement space. It's hard to get the planning permission to install the new boxes that are needed and it's even harder to get permission to do the roadworks to run the power and fibre to that box. The 'joined up' utility roadworks laws that came in mean that anyone who wants to dig up a city street now has to try and sync their works with repair, maintenance or upgrade work in the same street with the other utilities. If you want to lay some fibre but Thames Water are planning a water main upgrade in 9 month's time, guess what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Standard kneejerk response

      My mate gets about 2Mb on a good day ( drops to 1Mb most days ) and he lives just a few miles north of Enfield along the A10, hardly a backwater.

      1. circusmole

        Re: Standard kneejerk response

        Likewise in non-rural Hampshire where I live. A flakey 2Mb/s on a good day.

    3. Bob H
      Thumb Down

      Re: Standard kneejerk response

      What about Relish?

  5. ukgnome Silver badge

    Conducted in Norfolk earlier this year, and then forgotten about.

    Just like the fibre in my village.

  6. vmistery

    How about ensuring enough backhaul first. My speeds during quiet times are right up at 75-80 Mbps but during peak times back down to 7 or 8Mbps.

    1. Steven Raith

      That's not a backhaul problem per se, I believe, but your ISP oversubscribing to the backhaul they are prepared to pay for, is it not?

      IE adding more backhaul just means they'd oversubscribe that, too.

      Have a look at a business ISP if the speed is necessary, they typically have lower 'max contention' ratios - IE limited to 25 to one rather than 250 to one.

      (anyone, feel free to correct me)

      Steven R

      1. Zmodem

        ISP`s back in the day of ADSL made you pay more for a 1/25 network card on a BT exchange, while the default was 1/50 card, and the speed depended on how many people were using your card at the time

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The hitherto isolated region

    Hardly, it already has FTTC.

    Mind you, the associated roadworks may result in a greater degree of physical isolation. And the council is then going to dig up the same area shortly after BT finish to make major changes to the road layout, so total communication isolation is not impossible once the residents of the rather affluent suburb have had their initial fix of G.fast...

    1. Salts

      Re: The hitherto isolated region

      @Warm Braw

      I was about to mention "Isolated and Humble" really do not describe Gosforth.

      1. Banksy

        Re: The hitherto isolated region

        Yep, it's about 10 minutes outside Newcastle city centre by car, hardly isolated. I don't know if they were referring to it being an isolated spot for broadband but that doesn't sound right either.

  8. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    "up to" ...

    ... which, of course, includes zero. I'd call that weasel words if I didn't like weasels so much...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity the can't do the basics

    Moved house on the 11th September.

    I requested my BT line and Infinity were moved. Apparently there was an issue in taking the line over from the previous supplier. The supplier in question was EE, iirc aren't EE now owned by BT?

    The earliest they might be able to switch is 13th October assuming they can sort out the line ownership. My gas and electricity are switched, TV license switched, we all have new driving licenses, new GP. My payslips come to the new address, I could carry on.

    We still have no phone and I am well out of pocket for 3G topups that I had to get so I could work.

    Forgive me if I am cynical but I wouldn't trust BT if they promised the sun would rise in the morning.

    I've moved to Virgin who have promised a firm date and faster broadband.

    1. mrmond

      Re: Pity the can't do the basics

      Poor you, I moved house on the 15th June, I'm still waiting for an openreach engineer to come next Tuesday despite them carrying out the work in the street 2 weeks ago, they didn't close the work order off so Sky still insist I need someone out. They were surprised I rang them up to tell them my phone line was working and could they send me a new router.

      Strangely broadband is active even though according to Openreach it's not yet switched on at the exchange. I'm getting 2mbs. A lot lower than the 100mb I had with Virgin who refuse to cable the new street I'm now living in

  10. Ogi

    I no longer care one ioata about download speeds...

    ...as the offerings are fast enough for my needs. Give me some more symmetric lines. Some 200Mbit down, 10mbit up is really pointless, as I tend to saturate the outbound before the inbound reaches peak. Plus the ability to run my own cloud/services/etc... is really appealing.

    Some are silly, like 50mbit down, 0.9mbit up. I even ask if they can offer something else, and they always say it isn't possible, unless you want to go leased line route. I don't need 1:1 contention, just more balanced down/up.

  11. captain veg

    Gosforth and multiply?

    -A.

  12. fearnothing

    Gosforth is an 'isolated region'? Wow, didn't know an affluent suburb of Newcastle was considered 'isolated'. Then again, those idiots probably have a map where everything north of Luton is marked 'Here Be Dragns'.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why?

    Is only BT allowed to trial and develop things on Open Reach's independent from BT network? Would it be that

    1 it's not independent, they do not treat all customers equally, they do exactly what thery're told to do.

    2 That would upset BT and it's monopoly to bring "new" products to market, giving them a huge advantage for gaining customers.

    3. Pretend they are doing well, when they're really just protecting there aging copper infrastructure.

  14. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Curiouser and curiouser

    Living in the wilds of mid-Wales I actually think I get a fairly good basic broadband service (7.5Mb download). We were told that we would get fibre over a year ago, and every three months since then they've moved the deadline on another three months. It finally seems things are happening (well, maybe) but a couple of months ago we got so irritated by the delays that we got AMs and councillors involved. I then got a nice phone call personally from the boss of the Openreach rollout project in Wales, who assured me it would be over by Xmas. We'll see.

    But what was most interesting (and relevant to this thread) is that he said we're actually getting Fibre to the Premises, NOT Fibre to the Cabinet, and that will allow us to have up to 330Mb (same as G.fast). I really can't see them stringing fibre to every house in the village so does this mean we're actually a G.fast trial site that we haven't been told about?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Curiouser and curiouser

      No, you'll be a fttp site and g.fast only runs on old style copper PSTN lines.

      The 330mbps profile just seems to be the max speed running at the moment. The talk seems to suggest that the max speed could be ramped up once further tests are completed. Interesting times, but if only it covered the whole country...

      A.C. because... Well, just because. :P

      1. Adam Jarvis

        Re: Curiouser and curiouser

        The problem is you have to purchase the FTTP (upto 330Mbps) through a retail ISP, and how many actually offer retail FTTP service (upto 330Mbps) over BTWholesale. BTRetail maybe? Is this actually a 330Mbps service though. Who else?

        In Wales, FTTP rollout on longer lines (mostly exchange direct connections) is less than 0.5%, as part of Superfast Cymru. It really isn't worth an ISP setting up all the infrastructure to provide/market/advertise and ultimately roll-out such a FTTP product via BTWholesale.

        I read most FTTP are restricted to BT's Wholesale FTTC speeds of 80/20, is this true?, and what ISP are providing 330Mbps for the 0.5% customers such as these.

        Also, these FTTP longer lines connect back to an FTTC, do they overprovision such a cabinet with Fibre, or are these FTTP connections, hybrid FTTP, where the backhaul is run over existing FTTC infrastructure, back to the exchange.

        Lots of smoke and mirrors, redefining the term FTTP from this roll-out, really isn't what it seems.

        Headline FTTP (upto 330Mbps), but as always clarified by 'upto' even though FTTP should describe a pretty much constant speed fibre cable all the way to the premises.

        Don't get me onto G.fast, if you thought it was difficult to work out why your Broadband speed suddenly dropped, just wait for the cross talk woes, by having kit that isn't compatible running alongside kit that is, along with all the different firmware revisions, OEM equipment.

        1. Zmodem

          Re: Curiouser and curiouser

          shielded copper cable is probably a few billion pound cheaper then fibre, if BT replaces cable along pilons

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds a bit outdated; we currently have CityFibre contractors making a mess of the streets round here while they laying new FTTH cables for their 1Gb/1Gb service - hopefully not messing up the existing Virgin FTTC cables (200Mb/40Mb, I think).

    No info on pricing yet, but it seems to be a joint venture with Sky and TalkTalk - so not all good news.

  16. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Green Park in Reading

    Copper is long lasting and already in the ground. It's easy to 'splice' and can be handled by poorly trained monkeys (Openreach). If we had an entirely fibre network it would be fcsking awful.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Good on them

    "That would not really explain any shortcomings in London, though. On the face of it FTTC should be easy as it is densely populated and would not require fibre to be pulled in over great distances just to get anywhere near the customers. "

    Actually, old and densely populated cities are the best to run fiber through for this reason, but the worst to run fiber through because there'll be layers of pipes, sewers, subways, possibly older abandoned subways, cobblestones and things instead of regular pavement, and relatively densely packed buildings. Also, there tends to be a relatively high rate of "NIMBYism" ("Not in My Back Yard") where the same people whining they can't get faster speeds will then show up at planning meetings to complain they want to dig up their street (or in the case of phone service... they'll whine they get bad cell phone service but then show up at planning meetings to rally against having any cell sites put up.)

    Anyway, here's hoping they roll some G.Fast here. And that CL starts following normal industry standards for line length, instead of offering about half the speed they could be. I've got the worst of both worlds here - CenturyLink ran fiber to the cabinet to the front of the mobile home park I live in, and this runs VDSL2 rather than ADSL2+... so I cannot use a regular DSL/ADSL modem. Unlike DSL, ADSL, and ADSL2+, I have not found a single non-carrier-branded VDSL2 modem on the market in the US. Despite using VDSL, they only offer 7mbps at my distance (while line stats suggest the line should be able to do at least 15mbps on ADSL2+ and faster on VDSL.) They'd charge me 12mbps price for that 7mbps too, since they don't have a 7mbps plan any more.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A polished turd

    330Mb over crappy copper cables using OFDM is going to be an EMC nightmare and won't deliver. But where is the surprise there? G.Fast, bought to you by Bastard Telecunts, the arseholes who brought the EMC nightmare that is PLT to the great unwashed.

    More BT smoke and mirrors and specsmanship. I hate this company with a passion all of it's own. Galvin needs his balls slowly pulled off with a pair of rusty pliers and sautéed in boiling battery acid.

    1. Adam Jarvis

      Re: A polished turd

      I hadn't read your post when I posted above, but it is exactly that 'Smoke and Mirrors', aimed at deceiving those without any technical know-how to know otherwise, to believe the hype.

      'Trust' BT to deliver, thoughtout the Superfast Cymru roll-out, the whole tone of AM's replies was one of 'BT will do the right thing', don't worry 'I'm sure BT wouldn't do anything underhand'

      A highlighted example, such as upgrading certain Copper lines from 0.5mm to 0.9mm so that stastistically, longer lines/exchange areas just meet the contract threshold targets, rurally.

      So rather than having to install 'real' FTTP on longer lines, which was the fundamental idea/principle behind the 'Superfast Broadband' Taxpayers investment, upgrading to new fibre based infrastructure-We're instead paying to upgrade BT's existing infrastructure, by replacing copper with slighlty thicker copper to 'just' meet watered down 'fibre like' targets.

      The people in charge of the project are complicit (many will be ex-BT) with BT at deceiving the public, that this is a 'fibre rollout', its a fibre rollout only if they can't massage things so that old copper is replaced by slightly thicker copper, to make things appear like minimal fibre target thresholds are met.

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