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Zen Internet to Stop Selling G.fast Plans

Zen Internet has stopped selling connections over G.fast, another sign the technology is being supplanted by faster and more reliable full fibre.

The Rochdale-based ISP began offering ultrafast broadband plans over Openreach’s (BT) hybrid fibre G.fast infrastructure in 2018. The tariffs offer average download speeds of 145Mbps (30Mbps upload) and 300Mbps (50Mbps upload). But as of the end of this week, those plans will be closed to signups.

G.fast is effectively an upgrade to the existing fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) service, running over fibre to the street cabinet and then over copper telephone lines to your house. At one point, Openreach intended to bring G.fast to 10 million UK premises by the end of 2020.

However, the technology was quickly outmoded by full fibre (FTTP). G.fast is capable of delivering download speeds of only 330Mbps--and those are only realistic for premises within around 100 to 300 metres of a street cabinet. Like other broadband technologies harnessing the copper wires of the telephone network, including ADSL and FTTC, speeds degrade over distance. 

Full fibre, by contrast, delivers symmetrical 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) speeds no matter how far you live from a street cabinet.

These limitations mean that while 2.8 million UK premises currently have G.fast available to them, take-up has been weak.

In September 2019, Openreach announced that it would stop rolling out G.fast in order to focus on the superior full fibre—favoured by both the government and Ofcom. The infrastructure provider now plans to bring full fibre to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

Zen Internet has already taken advantage of that infrastructure, launching full fibre plans over Openreach in 2019. In January, it jumped onto CityFibre’s FTTP network as well. 

The rapid pace of the full fibre rollout and customer’s enthusiasm for those products mean that Zen Internet has decided to move away from G.fast. 

The products no longer appear on Zen Internet’s website, although customers can continue to purchase G.fast plans over the phone until the end of this week. Existing G.fast customers will continue to receive the service.

Paul Sinclair, marketing director of Zen Internet, told ISPreview: “Due to a combination of factors, though mainly driven by the pace of the full fibre rollout and take up of this by our customers, we will discontinue selling G.fast to our residential customers at the end of this week.”

Those who are interested in G.fast can continue to purchase the service from BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk, provided their home is connected.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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