Virgin Media has flipped the switch on its Gig1 gigabit home broadband service in Birmingham, bringing its fastest fibre connectivity to more than a million homes across the West Midlands. Gig1 delivers speeds more than 20 times faster than the current average in the area.
Virgin Media has unleashed the “UK’s largest ever gigabit broadband switch-on” with the next-generation broadband service available to hundreds of thousands of homes from this week, starting March 19, 2020. The roll-out is part of Virgin Media’s plan to bring gigabit speeds to 15 million homes across its entire network by the end of 2021.
And it’s not the only one. BT will bring its rival gigabit broadband speeds to two million households by the end of this month, with homes in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, London and Manchester all getting access to the super-fast fibre in the coming weeks.
Virgin Media currently offers its Gig1 in Southampton, Reading, and Greater Manchester. Connections in London are coming soon, the ISP has promised.
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Virgin Media COO Jeff Dodds said: “This is a next-generation broadband boost for more than a million homes in the West Midlands. Gig1 Fibre Broadband offers speeds more than 20 times faster than the local average broadband connection, meaning that households can do everything they want to do online, at the same time and without delay.
“This year we’ll bring the service to even more cities as we rollout gigabit broadband across our entire network at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else. Whatever the future holds, we’re connecting our customers to what’s next.”
Of course, gigabit broadband is a little overkill for most people right now. Even if you’ve got a full house of people self-isolating and working from home all-day, you’re unlikely to need the kind of bandwidth offered by this fibre plan. However, it should future-proof your home.
As a rule of thumb, broadband data-use increases tenfold every seven years in the UK. Virgin Media’s Gig1 – as well as rival offerings from BT – provides the connectivity you’ll desperately need for emerging technologies, like 8K video streaming, cloud-powered gaming – like Google Stadia, and more.
The hypersonic Gig1 Fibre Broadband service offers an average peak-time download speed of 1,104Mbps. For context, Netflix currently recommends 25Mbps to stream 4K Ultra HD content. So, it’ll take a small army regiment streaming The Haunting Of Hill House in your living room to get close to maxing out that Gig1 allowance.
But while Gig1 will future-proof your home, there are undoubtedly advantages to having that much speed pumped into your home right now.
For example, downloading a PlayStation 4 game from the digital store – like Red Dead Redemption 2 (99GB) – will take 4 hours and 20 minutes on the average UK broadband connection. That drops to 14 minutes when connected to 1Gbps speeds.