Choice of ISPs on Openreach 2021 UK FTTP broadband network

In this short article, we attempt to clear up some of the confusion regarding ISP choices over Openreach’s new Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP).super-fast broadband(100 Mbps +), which usually happens after people realize that it is not yet available from all internet providers in the UK market.

Historically, people have tended to assume that all of the most popular ISPs except Virgin Media will support the latest Openreach technology, but that’s not always the case. Several reasons for this exist, although the key issues relate to limited network availability, capacity (some ISPs need to upgrade first), cost / time required to adapt existing systems to a new product and the fact that the market today is full of many alternative FTTP networks (summary).

NOTE: Openreach covers around 4.8 million premises in the UK with FTTP (construction rate of around 43,000 per week) and is investing around £ 15 billion to reach 25 million by December 2026.

Nonetheless, over the past couple of years, many other providers have started offering FTTP packages based on Openreach, including major ISPs such as Sky Broadband and TalkTalk who initially seemed to be avoiding it. Ultimately, none of the major ISPs can afford to ignore the network provider’s significant commitment to build, which will make it the largest fiber-optic operator in the UK.

Suffice it to say that many consumers feel confused about their choices. In response, we have extracted some of the most consumer-friendly Openreach options from our UK ISP Lists help. But this guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just a reasonably well-thought-out list.

ISP Options for Openreach’s FTTP Network

In order to narrow down this list, we will only cover ISPs that offer packages based on Openreach’s 160Mbps / 30Mbps download tier at more affordable prices for consumers. This package is probably one of the most popular on the network “super-fast broadband”Because of its attractive balance of speed and affordability. On ISPs that don’t offer this, we’ll take the closest ultra-fast tier (typically 115Mbps or 100Mbps) – listed separately at the bottom of the table.

On top of that, we ruled out some of the more expensive, business-focused vendors, as well as those that lacked package details, were not clear on whether their prices included VAT or for which we couldn’t be. some if the packages were uniform. Based on Openreach. We have not taken a position on the quality of service of these providers, so the list below should NOT be considered as a table of recommendations.

Another thing to note is that we are not highlighting any of the other value added features that may come with these packages, such as cloud backup, static IP addresses, access to public WiFi hotspots and phone services, etc. The table below is just intended as a quick guide to the cheapest monthly options.

NOTE: All of these packages include unlimited data usage with the exception of AAISP where we used their option 2 TeraByte. Some ISPs discount the price of their first contract period, so for those we have put in brackets the post-contract price. The data is from the beginning of April 2021.

UK 160 Mbps ISP Plan Summary (Openreach)

  • Vispa also offers the option of a 24 month term with a free router, but we couldn’t see the monthly price for this on their website without a prior order.
  • No One is the residential outlet for Trunk Networks and looks similar to Leetline, as such we used the consumer prices for No One above.
  • Giganet has unbundled exchanges through Openreach, which are cheaper than their regular FTTP packages. Unfortunately, they don’t offer the 115 Mbps or 160 Mbps tiers, so we used 220 Mbps (30 Mbps download).

We would like to add a few points on the above packages. Spectrum Internet tends to sell its FTTP plans only in certain areas of Wales and South West England. Meanwhile, several ISPs, such as Zen Internet, Giganet, and Vodafone, hide their FTTP packages behind an uptime checker and it makes it a bit more tedious to see what they are offering.

We also found that you had to dig deeper into the AAISP control system before the 160 Mbps option was shown (oddly enough, this only comes after you first select an 80 Mbps level, which can lend itself to confusion). Unfortunately, many ISPs also don’t allow you to order their FTTP plans online and instead require you to go through the tedious hassle of ordering over the phone. A few others also made it difficult to see the download speeds offered.

A number of ISPs were excluded from our list for various reasons and the most common were: 1) We couldn’t be sure if the FTTP packages were Openreach based or not, 2) the ISP was missing a class level 100Mbps +, 3) ISP was too expensive (£ 100 +) / too business-centric and, 5) key package / price details were not displayed or easy to find at time of verification.

Excluded vendors (these are often worth considering) included Unchained ISP, Jibba Jabba, Gradwell, and BitStreme. Finally, a quick look back at our original 2019 article (here) shows that prices for the 160Mbps level have generally come down and often significantly.

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