Gigabit internet is something that you will hear more and more of over the next few years, so we thought it was probably best to explain how it will affect your life.
You’re probably used to your internet speeds increasing gradually as technology improves. Last year, for example, average download speeds increased 28% from 36.2 Mbps to 46.2 Mbps.
Gigabit internet means speeds of 1,000 Mbps or more. That’s an increase of more than 2,000%. It’s not just faster. It’s a genuine game changer.
We’ll get into what that means a bit later, but first let’s cover the basics.
What on earth is a gigabit?
A gigabit is a measurement of the amount of data that is transmitted by your internet, and is the equivalent of 1,000 megabits (or – if we want to break it down even further – a billion ‘bits’). What gigabit internet really means is that your broadband is capable of transmitting a gigabit of data in a single second.
So your speed is actually measured in gigabits per second, which is often shortened by providers to Gbps, or even just Gb.
1 Gb Internet? What’s the point?
I think we’d all agree that the internet 20 years ago was pretty rubbish. Well, the difference between 1 Gb internet and what you’ve got now is about the same. The change will be enormous.
It’s the kind of difference that is difficult to visualise. Just as not many people in the 90s were anticipating the boom in social media, the move into gigabit internet will open up an entirely new realm of possibilities.
This includes the stuff that sci-fi writers have been predicting since they could pick up a pen. From immersive 360 degree virtual reality to interactive robots in-tune with your kitchen appliances.
It’s not just about being able to game or stream 8K Ultra HD tv in every room of the house, it’s about having a genuinely interconnected home – all designed to make your life easier.
Where can I get gigabit internet in the UK?
While the largest providers are not yet capable of delivering gigabit internet in the UK, there are a number of smaller companies like 6G Internet which already have the technology.
There is no national infrastructure for delivering these sorts of speeds, so each company is installing its own network. This means that coverage is very patchy, because smaller companies that use fibre optic cables need to see if there’s enough demand in a specific postcode to justify digging up the roads and installing their cables.
Work is underway to speed up the installation of new fibre optic cables in towns, but this can take several years, millions of pounds and a lot of noise and disruption.
On the other hand, 6G Internet can install its wireless network within a town or city relatively quickly, enabling the vast majority of premises to receive its signal.
This is what’s happening in Blackburn right now, where 38,000 homes and businesses will be able to access gigabit internet within the next 12 months, with speeds rising to 6 Gbps by 2025.
This is just the start of 6G’s plans to reach 4 million homes within three years.
To see when we’re coming to your town, check your postcode now.