Openreach Offer New Multiport ONT Service with UK FTTP Broadband

Network access provider Openreach (BT Group) is preparing to launch a new service for broadband ISPs, which will optionally allow their customers to choose a Multiport Optical Network Terminal (ONT) device instead of the normal single port unit that is deployed during home installs. But some installs will get it by default.

The ONT or optical modem device is usually installed inside your home or office (wall hung), near to where the fibre optic cable physically enters your property, and its primary job is simply to take the optical signal and convert it into an electrical one that can be connected to your broadband router via a Local Area Network (Ethernet) port. The standard ONT is usually a very small single port device.

NOTE: Openreach’s full fibre network currently covers 13 million premises and is expected to reach 25 million by December 2026 (80%+ of the UK) – at a cost of up to £15bn. After that, there’s also an aspiration to reach up to 30 million by 2030.

The operator has supplied 4 port ONTs in the past (i.e. 1 optical input and 4 LAN outputs), which in the early years was actually the default. Openreach also trialled a 4 port ONT from Nokia (G-040G-B – GPON Multiport 4+0 ONT) back in 2021 (here), albeit only for specific order journeys, such as to replace an existing ONT upon request. The new service appears to be using the same Nokia device, albeit no longer as a trial.

However, Openreach have now launched a new optional Multiport ONT service for FTTP, which will become available from 1st May 2024. But the new service will attract a cost (pricing). For example, a standard FTTP install charge (like the one you might have in a normal home)for a Multiport ONT will cost £120.05 +vat for packages at a speed of less than 500Mbps, which rises to £500 for speeds of 500Mbps or more (we’re not entirely sure why the latter is that expensive).

Customers who merely want to replace (Box Swap) their existing / older ONT for a new Multiport ONT will be charged £90 +vat for sub-500Mbps packages and £500 for 500Mbps or faster tiers. Existing “Equinox” connection discounts on standard installs, where applicable, will also apply to Multiport ONT first installs.

Openreach Statement

Multiport ONT is capable of supporting up to 4x FTTP services, each with a maximum download speed of 1000 Mbit/s, using a single fibre lead-in. The Multiport ONT is available as an optional add-on at the point of install when ordering a first Openreach FTTP service to an end customer, and will also serve as the default ONT for a specific list of premises types.

For second line installs where a single port ONT is present with an active Openreach FTTP service, Openreach will carry out a Box Swap to replace the single port ONT with a Multiport ONT to host both FTTP services.

The mention of Multiport being the default ONT for “specific” premises is largely intended to cover installs for locations such as education sites, libraries, post offices, petrol stations, hotels and more. But ISPs will also gain the option to override the use of a Multiport ONT on Box Swaps via the Restrict Swap functionality, but Openreach has yet to fully implement this feature.

One obvious catch above is that, for some reason, Openreach are launching this without support for their fastest 1.2Gbps and 1.8Gbps FTTP broadband tiers. We hope to have some pictures of the new kit soon, but given that it’s the day before Good Friday, then it may be after the long weekend before we hear back.

Recent Posts