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Wowzers – UK ISP Gigaclear Trial 5000Mbps Fibre Optic Broadband Service

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 (7:50 am) - Score 2,076

Forget the battle over that 10Mbps USO or the Government’s 24Mbps+ “superfast” target and who cares about “ultrafast” 100Mbps+ speeds? Yes you can forget all that because rural fibre optic ISP Gigaclear are about to add a 5000Mbps (5Gbps) broadband package to their options.

At present Gigaclear’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network is available to more than 10,000 premises in various rural communities across the United Kingdom and they’re growing at an increasingly rapid pace (here), which is being fuelled by big contract wins for new networks in Gloucestershire (here), Essex (here) and Berkshire (here) among many other places.

The fastest package available to customers covered by Gigaclear’s network is currently their symmetrical 1000Mbps service (Home 1000 Unlimited [H1000]), which costs £72 per month and £100 (one-off) for the installation.

However the limits of today’s Internet, as well as most domestic computer hardware (e.g. Ethernet ports), mean that you’re unlikely to ever be able to use all that speed, not least because a lot of online services would struggle to supply traffic to your connection at Gigabit speeds or even close to it (most people would struggle to even use a full 100Mbps, let alone 1000Mbps).

Never the less Gigaclear are keen to make a statement in this market, as well as to highlight just how future-proof pure fibre optic connectivity can become, and so from early 2016 they’ve pledged to trial a new 5000Mbps (5 Gigabits per second!) broadband package for both home and business subscribers (H5G and B5G).

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear, said:

We’re offering customers the chance to access absolutely phenomenal broadband speeds. To be clear, this is a premium service that gives the fastest Internet speeds in the country to those of our customers who want the best connection that they can get. But it won’t be long before there’s a greater need for a 5Gbps service as connectedness becomes an ever more important part of our everyday lives.

By launching the trial of this 5Gbps service now, we are showing all our customers that we are delivering a future proof network today, one which won’t need to be updated even as their usage massively increases in the years to come.”

Gigaclear claims that “all the signs” point to UK consumers being likely to “need this level of service soon“, although this perhaps depends upon how many years you attach to the use of the word “soon” as we’re presently nowhere near that point. Not to mention that at 5Gbps it wouldn’t take much to put a strain on even some major transatlantic links.

Admittedly the demands are only increasing and at some point Gigaclear’s expectations are likely to come true. At this point it’s worth considering that it might take 10-15 years or more to roll-out such a network to every UK property, as well as a good £20bn+ in the bank, and by completion we might be starting to need Gigabit speeds, at least in some situations (multiple 18K video streaming?).

Just to put this 5Gbps speed into some perspective (assuming you could find any online service capable of delivering it), a 50GB (GigaByte) XBox1 or PS4 game download on a 24Mbps connection would currently take about 5 hours to download. At 5Gbps that same 50GB download would complete in around one and a half minutes! Past a certain point it’s all a matter of time, like being able to do things in seconds or minutes rather than hours etc.

However such a service doesn’t come cheap and Gigaclear says that their H5G (Home) package will set you back £399 inc. VAT per month (£1,500 +vat for the business option), which isn’t really affordable for anybody except the richest of home owners.

Leave a Comment
28 Responses
  1. Be interesting to see how they actually demonstrate that speed! Laptop and speedtest.net? I think not! 🙂

    1. Avatar James Harrison says:

      The “killer app” for these sorts of high speeds are not, as the article suggests, single homeowners. They’re for high degrees of concurrency. If you’ve got a house with a few kids in it, suddenly 1G looks a lot smaller. I’m personally unconvinced that >1Gbps will be required even for those situations for another 5-10 years, mind you.

    2. Avatar Kevin says:

      @James Harrison how many kids do you have!? LOL 😀

    3. Avatar James Harrison says:

      @kevin: None! But plenty of people in my village have cited that as their main reason for upgrading from Gigaclear’s 50Mbps packages to 200Mbps and up…

  2. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    Openreach have just announced that they’ll be offering 5Gb connections in the year twenty-five twenty-five, if we’re still alive …

    More seriously I thought Gigaclear only guaranteed customers 10Mb i.e. a 10Gb link to support 1000 customers.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      A proof of concept demo is of course rather different to a widely available commercial customer trial. I think even B4RN can technically do 10Gbps, but it’s another thing to offer that as a commercially available product.

    2. Avatar Mark says:

      Too bad like so many demos from BT it turned out to be another vaporware product that never sees the light of day.

  3. Avatar Ignition says:

    I can’t say I’ve seen any signs to indicate that people will be needing 5Gb/s any time soon, let alone that all the signs point to it.

    Concurrency sounds great. Please feel free to find a home router that can handle 5Gb, or indeed a home router that has a single 10Gb port.

    This looks an awful lot like an e-peen exercise, similar to the 2Gb service Comcast in the US are selling. The CPE will be expensive, no-one will be able to make a dent in the bandwidth unless they run servers and have a NAS full of dodginess.

    1. Avatar dave says:

      try and find a home pc that has a 10 gigabit ethernet port too:P 10 gigabit ethernet pci-e cards cost a fortune, this speed will only be used by businesses. I hope some day that pc’s come with 10 gigabit ethernet ports but i can’t see that happening within the next 3yrs.

    2. Avatar Max says:

      Dave is spot on. As much as I love speed, and would love 5Gbps, no PCs have 10Gbit ethernet. Even top end gaming motherboards are Gigabit, and ten gigabit PCI-E cards cost many hundreds.

      Though, I suppose if you are willing to spend 399 a month on the connection, you won’t mind spending hundreds on a 10Gbit PCI-E card.

    3. Avatar James Harrison says:

      Was going to say – a 10GbE card is only £200 or so these days including optics or copper SFP+ module (for a decent Intel one), so hardly a big deal in context for a 5GbE connection.

      As for a router – routers are getting faster all the time. My £50 Ubiquiti router can do a full gig throughput at 128 byte packet sizes. I’m sure for a few hundred quid someone will do you a 5GbE capable CPE router. I’m not sure they’d go for >1 10GbE port, too – multiple 1GbE ports would still be usable.

  4. Avatar Captain.Cretin says:

    I WANT!!!

    (I will figure out what to do with it later)

    Downloading internet, estimated time – 90 seconds.

    1. Avatar illiad says:

      And I want my flying car too!!!! 🙂 🙂

      lovely dreaming about it, but….

      Until gigaclear makes at least the top 50, dream on… Hyperoptics latest reviews say ‘still no 1Gbps, but service quite good though…’ 😛

      question to website – why is it in ‘top50’ but not ‘top10’ ??? :E

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The top 50 is an un-weighted and unofficial list (says on the page) because we don’t apply any filters to stop new ISPs with one or two reviews jumping to the top. It also includes other niche categories, such as Satellite and Wireless connectivity, while the top 10 is focused on fixed line services.

    3. Avatar illiad says:

      tanks mark… 🙂 Any chance making a ‘top 20’ instead of the top 10?? a lot of the top sellers dont make the list.. would be good for comparison..

  5. Avatar bdo21 says:

    I see these numbers for Gigaclear but I always wonder what is actually achievable in real life with them. Presumably they do not have the bandwidth to actually support this real life speed for the users on their network? While there are lots of users on Openreach’s network, there is obviously much much more bandwidth and most users are constrained on copper-based connections. In real life usage, what delivers a faster connection – Gigaclear’s 1Gbps service or an Openreach FTTP 330 connection? I am on AAISP with FTTP 330.

    I know BT are intending to increase their FTTP maximum to 1Gbps (does anyone know when?) but I do not know how much of a real world increase this will deliver.

    1. Avatar James Harrison says:

      In the real world (I have Gigaclear FTTP, 1G connection) I get 1G. At very busy times… I get 1G. Maybe 900M. They do have contention, yes, but bear in mind that faster speeds in the real world almost always translate not to a massive increase in actual bandwidth utilized, but a decrease in time the link is utilized for.

    2. Avatar JamesM says:

      How much does that cost bdo? Im interested.

    3. Avatar illiad says:

      JamesM: click ‘ISP list’ at top to search..

      James Harrison: I would be interested in your ‘real world’ download speeds for things like distros and youtube.. 🙂

  6. Avatar AndrewH says:

    Errr….. hello……. Hello?? ….. 1.7Mbps here…… hello…..anyone…???

    1. Avatar Dave King says:

      Errr….Hi ..Hi.. anybody still there!!! 700kbs here

    2. Avatar illiad says:

      name and shame, guys.. your location would help too.. 🙂

  7. Avatar Matt says:

    This is obviously just a publicity thing…. however if they are so sure this will work fine then maybe give it too all customers for 1-3 months free and see how the network copes ….

    This is obviously an attractive headline that will be used against Openreach/Virgin/Hyper/City Fibre…. #NoNewsStory..

  8. Avatar fastman says:

    will also depends on how may connectios there are if there are 20 people on the connection there will be less contention than if there is say 100

  9. Avatar Darren says:

    Imagine a time when we look back at this news and say wow the internet was slow back then.

    5Gbps sounds good but at those sort of speeds you’d probably end up ripping it clean off!

  10. Avatar TheManStan says:

    Big fan of Gigaclear, but to say this is residential is willy waving!

    Excellent value for a tech business wanting a cheap rent in sticks though.

  11. Avatar RobertRM says:

    £1100 more because someone is a business, robbing stunts.

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