BT’s consumer division has today announced new fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband packages that will boost the bandwidth available to customers from a current maximum – from the BT network – of 78 megabits per second (Mbps) to 314Mbps.
The packages, dubbed Ultrafast Fibre 1 and Ultrafast Fibre 2 will offer speeds of up to 152Mbps and 314 Mbps respectively, for prices of £54.99 and £59.99 per month. BT will also throw in its latest Smart Hub, a router modem supplied by Thomson and Sagem, which it released in June 2016.
BT claims that its speed guarantees for the new services will be backed by compensation if it fails to keep its promise of a minimum of 100Mbps at all times – even during the evening peak.
“Whether it is six in the evening or six in the morning, with Ultrafast Fibre everyone can be online at the same time, streaming, downloading and gaming,” claimed BT Consumer CEO Marc Allera.
He added: “Rather than spending hours downloading TV shows or films to their smartphone or tablet, they’ll be able to do it in minutes. Customers will have complete peace of mind that they can always rely on Ultrafast Fibre, backed up by the promise that we’ll give them £20 if their speed ever falls below 100Mbps.”
The Smart Hub offers dual-band WiFi, but has more WiFi antennas (seven) than its predecessor, the Home Hub 5, for improved coverage and uses a USB 3.0 rather than USB 2.0 port. It supports Wave 2 802.11ac WiFi, but offers four ethernet ports on the back for direct-wired connections or home powerline networking.
However, customers can’t necessarily sign-up today. At the moment, the company’s Ultrafast Fibre network doesn’t extend beyond around 250,000 households – less than one per cent of the estimated 30 million households across the UK.
The new broadband products will be the fastest that BT Consumer sells and some of the fastest speeds available to consumers in the UK, comparable to Virgin Media’s network.
Other broadband providers will eventually also offer the service, but many will probably be holding out until BT Openreach has extended the Ultrafast Fibre network to cover more potential customers.