While you're at home struggling to get your favourite movie to stream, it seems that the highest internet speeds are getting faster and faster. It wasn’t all that long ago that broadband itself was a bit of a novelty and now internet speeds of 100Mbps+ are very much within grasp. As we accelerate into higher and higher speeds, we have ventured into a new realm of rapid connections - gigabit broadband. To save you the hassle of reading another article, we will walk you through exactly what gigabit broadband is and whether or not it might be right for you.
What is gigabit broadband?
Gigabit broadband, much like it sounds, is fibre broadband that achieves speeds of one gigabyte per second. For those that don’t know, that’s 1000mbps. To put things into perspective, an Ofcom study conducted in 2019 found that the average internet speed in a UK household was 54Mbps, making it significantly faster than the average connection. Having speeds like this has some serious implications. The average size of a HD movie is around 3-4Gb, and with a 1Gb connection you could download that in around 30 seconds.
How does it work?
These speeds, as with most high speed internet, is made possible using fibre optic cables. Most fibre connections are achieved through fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, meaning that a fibre line is connected to the outdoor street cabinet, but the last leg of the journey into your home is made via a normal phone line. Gigabit internet is achieved by using fibre to the home or fibre to the premises (FTTH/FTTP) technology, which means that the entire route is navigated entirely by a fibre cable, greatly increasing its capacity. This can mean there will be additional installation costs as new wires need to be routed directly into your home.
Why should I get gigabit broadband?
The reasons for having a 1Gb connection are fairly obvious, but at the same time it can be difficult to justify having that of internet speed for some light browsing and streaming. There are, however, some very sensible reasons to get gigabit broadband which we have been kind enough to list for you:
- Peak Times: One advantage beyond having faster internet in general is that it stays quick during peak times. With an ADSL connection, evenings are much slower as everyone scrambles for bandwidth, which can make it very annoying as it is inconveniently the time that you want to use it. Gigabit broadband, while still affected by this, will still top out at more than sufficient speeds, meaning you can browse and surf to your heart's content without worrying about sluggish speeds when you need your internet most.
- Business Use: This kind of speed can also be suitable for businesses if you have a number of employees working at one site. And with most businesses being heavily reliant on the internet, getting a gigabyte connection makes perfect sense.
- Reasonable Rates: While it might be easy to believe that gigabit internet is going to break the bank, considering the speed of connection available to you it can be relatively cost effective. As it starts to break into the market, there are also a range of companies doing good introductory offers for those who fancy a bit of speed in their life.
- No Need to Upgrade: While getting more than you need to save you the trouble of having to switch broadband in the future is not always the best idea, if you can get a good deal then it can be advisable to. If you can find yourself a good offer that means you are locked into a price for a certain amount of time, you will be satisfied as the desire for faster and faster internet increases.
Can I get gigabit broadband?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks of gigabit internet is that it is not as readily available as other, slower broadband speeds. In most cases, you will need to live in a high density area to be able to get gigabit broadband. However, there are some instances where smaller, rural communities have banded together to encourage a provider to connect their area to gigabit broadband where larger providers do not want to venture, so there is hope for us all.
So there you have it, a brief introduction to the world of gigabit internet, something that only 10 years ago would have seemed completely out of this world. And while it’s not as readily available as some would like, it’s certainly breaking onto the scene and slowly becoming more available to the general public. If you would like to see if you can get any gigabit broadband in your area, or just fancy checking out what offers are available where you live, take a look at our helpful broadband comparison