Home » Help » Will we all need gigabit broadband one day?

Will we all need gigabit broadband one day?

Will we all need gigabit broadband one day?

Friday, 28 June, 2019

It’s fair to say nobody saw today’s reliance on broadband coming.

Back in 2009, ten per cent of UK households relied on dial-up internet, and Netflix was still posting out DVDs.

Fast-forward to the present day, and these recent cultural phenomena seem like relics of a bygone age.

Our rapidly changing tastes in media consumption are placing unprecedented demand on telecommunications infrastructure that was never designed for this much activity.

Infrastructure providers and broadband companies are investing heavily in ambitious roll-outs of Fibre to the Premises cabling.

Some FTTP connections are capable of transmitting data at 300Mbps, which is 535 times faster than dial-up ever was.

And it’s still not enough…

Gig economy

Earlier this year, a senior employee of cable company CityFibre suggested every home in the UK would benefit with the advent of gigabit broadband.

This term describes any connection capable of downloading data at one gigabit per second.

Today’s connections operate at megabits per second, where dial-up ran at kilobits per second.

Even though asymmetric lines always prioritise downloads over uploads, the upload speeds possible from gigabit broadband services should still be remarkable.

Best of all, gigabit FTTP services abolish the slow copper cables used to pipe data between local exchange boxes and our homes.

These have the potential to throttle ultrafast Fibre to the Cabinet connections, resulting in the disappointing 11Mbps or 36Mbps connection speeds familiar to millions of people.

Why does line speed matter?

It matters because our lives are increasingly dependent on constant internet connectivity.

As the number of smart devices in our homes continues to expand, more information will be uploaded and downloaded at any given moment.

We’re gradually evolving away from standard definition content towards HD. The next evolution will be 4K streaming services, presumably followed by eye-popping 8K.

We access computer games online rather than installing them, and we communicate with friends and relatives via social media instead of by telephone or post.

The myriad benefits of home working have created a generation of people reliant on cloud-hosted tools like Skype, Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office 365.

Line speed will matter even more in the coming age of remote medical advice and fully autonomous devices, all demanding internet connections with virtually no latency.

(Latency is the delay between issuing a request over the internet and having it responded to. As an example, latency of over 50ms renders some online games unplayable).

Is it coming soon?

Installing subterranean broadband infrastructure is a slow and laborious process, but pockets of the UK are already gigabit-enabled.

From Bournemouth to Hull, residents of certain postcodes are currently enjoying small-scale trial installations by KCOM, TalkTalk, Hyperoptic and the aforementioned CityFibre.

And as our recent guide explained, new-build estates tend to be hotbeds of connectivity.

Virgin Media is also trialling gigabit broadband, but we’ll have to wait a few years before it’s widely available.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so far

It’s been a year few of us will forget in a hurry, and we're only halfway through.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so farThe biggest malware threats of 2020…so far Read more

Instagram could become the main news source for young people.

Reuters finds changes in the way younger users consume the news.

Read more

BT launches second line service

BT launches second broadband home line service for the new crop of home workers.

Read more

Best broadband areas for online gaming in the UK.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to check if your broadband is down

It might seem obvious that an outage has occurred, but there are easy ways to check if your broadband is down, or whether the problem is more localised

How to check if your broadband is downHow to check if your broadband is down Read more

A guide to Big Tech alternatives.

It seems like we’re reliant on a small group of companies, are there alternatives?

Read more

Quick tips for boosting home broadband speed

Boosting speed can transform activities like streaming, gaming and accessing cloud storage

Read more

What’s the difference between hardware, firmware and software?

Read more