In 2020 CityFibre started digging up parts of Worthing to install Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), they sell this wholesale to ISPs, similar to BT Openreach. Their network allows for gigabit-ish speeds. The main difference for consumers however is CityFibre offer a symmetrical connection for residential and not just business customers, so around 900Mbps down and up. In comparison BT Openreach FTTP residential packages offer around 900Mbps down and 100Mbps up.
The UK’s long obsession with asymmetrical lines with crippled upload speeds is coming to the end. In the age of people uploading to YouTube and other services, upload speed is important, its always been important and its a shame we’ve had to endure poor upload speeds for so long.
In Worthing at least, only TalkTalk and Zen are using CityFibre’s network at the moment. Not willing to go anywhere near TalkTalk, Zen was the natural choice and offers a static IPv4 address (noice). Zen sell this as their “Full Fibre 900 Plus” package, for £40 a month, offering an unlimited connection up to 900Mbps up and down. As this is only offered in a handful of locations at the moment this usually won’t show up in their normal web pages, if you know you have CityFibre in your area you can use CityFibre’s website to go find the right page to order from.
We ordered in the 1st week of April, and by the 2nd week we had the install completed, this involved digging up some brickwork across our front garden and running the line into the house, this took the engineers about 2 hours to complete and they’ve left the area looking how it was when they started.
On the exterior they’ve placed their CityFibre box, shown here next to a Virgin cable install:
On the inside we have the fibre coming through the wall and running to CityFibre’s Optical Network Terminator, from what I gather all installs with CityFibre lines at the moment are using a separate ONT and not a combined router and ONT. The Virgin DOCSIS line we have is running through the middle of the photo and under the carpet:
Zen then supplied us with a Fritz!box 7530 router. This is actually a pretty full-featured router, it offers far more features than I can possibly go into here, and makes BT and Virgin’s supplied routers look like fisher price toys in terms of functionality.
Speed wise, these were conducted early on a Friday evening:
Latency typically 6 to 7ms to most UK sites, a marked improvement from Virgin’s cable services. Similar to what you see on BT’s FTTP lines. 100MB/s+ from Steam was nice to see. It’s probably safe to assume realistic speeds are probably 700-800Mbps and up* at peak times, but it can be difficult to gauge as many of the online speed tests may have other bottlenecks somewhere when we start approaching speeds this high.
*Obviously don’t expect these speeds on WiFi.
I’ve not noticed any traffic shaping, random websites being blocked or ports being blocked or any other weirdness in the first few days. If I note any reliability issues, I’ll update this post below any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer if I can.
Google’s, Netflix’s and thinkbroadband’s test results are below to give you an idea of speeds you’d likely expect: