What is GFast Fibre Broadband?
In simple terms, GFast is the newest and fastest copper based broadband service that is currently available. Basically, it is an improved version of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). This means that the end user can achieve speeds up to four times faster than traditional FTTC broadband. Current maximum speeds are up to 80mb download, GFast increases this to up to a potential 350mb download speed. Previously the only way to get faster broadband speeds was to install a Fibre to the Property (FTTP) connection but that isn’t available in all areas, so this is where GFast can help. (Note that this doesn’t include carriers that don’t use BT Openreach or BT Wholesale, E.G. Virgin Media)
GFast allows users to get these higher speeds by utilising the current FTTC infrastructure. FTTC works by a fibre cable transmitting broadband from your local exchange to your local BT street cabinet. A copper cable is then used to transfer the fibre broadband service from the local BT cabinet to your business or home.
GFast works in a very similar way to FTTC but a special pod is fitted to the BT cabinet to alter the speed frequencies of the connection. This change within the frequencies increases the speed through the copper cable which results in a more reliable broadband with ultrafast speeds. GFast users are typically located no more than 500 metres from their local BT cabinet.
What is the difference between Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) & Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
FTTP is where there is a fibre optic cable that is installed the full distance from the local BT exchange all the way to the property. The connection bypasses the local BT cabinet and goes straight from the exchange to the property. With it being a pure fibre optical connection, this allows for much faster speeds. In theory, FTTP speeds can reach a maximum of 1000Mb but in reality the current maximum is around 350Mb with a 50Mb upload.
FTTC services only have a fibre optical cable to the local BT cabinet. The rest of the journey is through a copper wire phone line which cannot provide the higher rate speeds. The result is much lower speeds than FTTP with a maximum of 80Mb download and 20Mb upload speed.
It is also important to note that if you are located in an FTTC are, you cannot receive FTTP and if you are located in an FTTP area, you cannot receive FTTC. FTTP cannot be delivered from a BT local cabinet. It can only be potentially installed if your property is directly connected to your local BT Exchange.
Where is GFast available?
At the moment GFast is only available in some locations across the UK. To see if you can benefit from GFast visit our Availability Checker or Contact Us. BT are aiming for “most of the UK” to to be able to reach speeds of up to 500Mbps within 10 years and for GFast to be available to over 10 million homes by the end of 2020. GFast has already benefited over one million homes and will allow millions of more properties to get ultrafast broadband speeds with minimal disruption. This is because there is no need to insert new cables between buildings.
Can I get GFast now?
If you are interested in GFast and would like to see if you can benefit from higher internet speeds, then use the Availability Checker at the top of this page. Alternatively, contact us and we are able to check if GFast or other services are available in your area. If you wish to read more about FTTC and FTTP then visit our general Internet Access page or click on the links further below.
You can also use our availability checker to check if GFast is available in your area. BT are working hard to ensure the availability of GFast is increased and are aiming to soon allow most of the UK to reach higher broadband speeds.