Would you sign up to a £2,892-a-year contract over three years for just 330Mbps? Recombu reader Andrew Goff says BT’s Fibre on Demand is ‘the economics of the madhouse’.
FTTP on Demand or 'FoD' is BT’s answer for customers who want faster speeds than FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) - a five-times-faster service where you pay them to install full fibre broadband to your location from the street cabinet.
When Andrew Goff enquired, it was the annual costs which really added up on top of the £792 fee for getting a fibre line 180 metres to his home - and a three year contract lock-in.
“I could get 4.5 times a Virgin connection at 152Mbps - 600Mbps in total if you like - for the same price (of BT) without fear of install costs exploding,” said Goff, who’s based in Crumpsall, Manchester.
“And I know that the Virgin connection will increase in speed automatically every year without any extra cost to me.
“If I went for a three-year contract at 330Mbps with BT, I suspect my Virgin connection would increase to above 330mbps before the BT contract finished.
“My biggest concerns with BT's offer is being tied into a 3-year contract - when I know much better offers will have to come to market before the end of this contract - and the potential for install costs to explode. It’s the economics of the madhouse.”
As a small businessman and landlord with a several tenants from Russia and the Baltic states who like to watch TV from home, Goff needs reliable streaming and unlimited usage.
He and his tenants rack up two to three Terabytes of downloads per month and with more HD streams coming online, their usage is only going up.
There’s a range of FoD services, with the top speeds being 330Mbps downstream and 30Mbps up, compared to 76Mbps down and 19Mbps up for the top-level FTTC service.
But FoD is expensive because BT has to put a fibre optic cable in the ground from your nearest street cabinet.
Andrew is based near the Cheetham Hill exchange in Manchester. The nearest BT Openreach cabinet is number 28, just 180m from his business.
His current broadband connection combines a Virgin’s 152Mbps link with Sky's up to 76Mbps FTTC over the BT network - a load-balancing router allows the unlimited Sky service to take the strain when Virgin’s traffic management kicks in during prime time.
Having read about FoD on Recombu, Andrew contacted business broadband providers Easynet/MDNX and Entanet, who both told him they had decided not to continue with it after initial trials.
“I had the same answer by phone - both said the economics were madness - the cost of digging up the street became ludicrous,” Goff added.
“It’s only an estimate, so I must sign up to cover whatever they turn out to be before I can know what they will be - damaging client relations in this way is why MDNX/Easynet and Entanet stopped offering the product.”
When Goff contacted BT, the local business manager knocked the initial connection price down from £3,200 to £200, plus the fixed cost of £500 and a £92 connection fee.
The monthly cost remains at £200 plus £41 line rental, making £2,892/year compared to a combined Virgin Media and Sky cost of £105/month, or £1,265/year.
BT has already increased the cost of FoD since the option launched last year - blaming low demand from customers and ISPs - so it’s now available only from BT Business.
BT said: “It’s very much a niche product and the pricing reflects that it is not a product that is seeing a lot of demand from customers or ISPs.”