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BOOM in Global Demand for 1Gbps or Faster Broadband ISP Packages

Wednesday, Dec 9th, 2015 (11:57 am) - Score 935

A new report from Point Topic suggests that consumer and business uptake of Gigabit (1000Mbps+) class broadband connections, which are often delivered via pure fibre optic lines (FTTH/P), is on the rise. But uncertainty still exists around the ultimate demand for such services, particularly symmetric in the residential market.

At present the United Kingdom is home to a growing number of Gigabit broadband ISPs, such as B4RN, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear. Even BTOpenreach are testing a 1Gbps upgrade for their current Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) platform.

Similarly future hybrid-fibre technologies like XG.FAST (G.fast2) and DOCSIS3.1 (cable) can conceivably also deliver Gigabit class connectivity to homes and businesses, although we’re unlikely to see those sorts of speeds becoming the new normal for a few years (issues with capacity and in other cases the need for expensive infrastructure development).

In keeping with this Point Topic has observed a strong rise in the number of Gigabit broadband tariffs across the world, although it’s worth mentioning that this is to be expected given that the vast majority of countries are starting from a very low point of recent adoption (pre-2012 subscriptions were very low).


In terms of subscriptions, Point Topic clearly lacks the data to develop a thoroughly accurate prediction, although they state that the global total is currently somewhere between under 10 million and above 1 million active subscriptions to a Gigabit connection (excluding leased lines).

The obvious expectation is that this figure will rise and their “medium adoption” scenario predicts (here) that there could be “at least100 million subscribers to Gigabit labelled services in 2020.


Mind you there’s a lot of room for uncertainty, not least due to the fact that even when such networks are available consumers will often still choose a slower speed package to save money, provided it still delivers the experience they want.

Similarly most people don’t yet “need” a Gigabit (1000Mbps+) style connection or even remotely close to that sort of speed and the vast majority of online services still can’t deliver content at remotely close to such a level. Even a lot of computer hardware (WiFi, LAN ports etc.) would struggle to cope with a full 1000Mbps link.

On the other hand it can take over a decade to build out such networks and in that sense there’s some considerable logic in getting an early start. Likewise there are also marketing considerations, with Point Topic suggesting that investors in the UK and Europe are often attracted to broadband platforms that deliver Gigabit speeds (e.g. Gigaclear and Hyperoptic).

A Spokesperson for Point Topic said:

We do see continued enthusiasm from investors in the UK and Europe for broadband; the higher the bandwidths the better apparently.

Repeated successful rounds of fund raising from a number of ‘alternative’ UK players strongly suggests there’s evidence of a working business model and returns on investment, even if they aren’t sharing all that data with us yet. You can see more on our in depth UK work in the ‘Free Analysis’ as well as for subscribers.”

Being able to offer a Gigabit service can also afford a degree of advertising related “bragging rights“, which may help to encourage consumer demand, particularly among those who don’t fully understand the real-world limitations of what they actually use.

Admittedly all of this is somewhat of a moot point right now, especially while a fair chunk of rural and some urban premises are still waiting for a fixed line broadband connection that can deliver so-called “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds. For related areas the Gigabit dream is not nearly as important as simply being able to catch-up with the requirements of modern services, the sooner the better.

Ultimately though, if you have the time and money, then there’s certainly no harm in building out a fairly future proof network that can meet today’s expectations and which is also ready for tomorrow. Technology moves so fast that tomorrow often arrives sooner than you think it will.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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