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How Much Does 1Gbps UK Home Broadband Cost – 2021 vs 2022

Friday, April 15th, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 19,224
Gigabit-Broadband-Speed-Sign-in-Black

Last year we wrote an article to examine how much each gigabit-capable UK ISP charges for their top 1Gbps (1000Mbps+) home broadband tier (here). As promised, we’ve returned in 2022 to take another look and see whether the increasingly competitive market is having an impact on prices.

As before, we’ll only be focusing on consumer orientated “full fibre” (FTTP/B) networks and Virgin Media’s infrastructure (a mix of FTTP and Hybrid Fibre Coax via DOCSIS). At present around 65% of UK premises are estimated to be within reach of a gigabit-capable broadband network (here), which drops to over 30% when only considering FTTP services (i.e. Virgin’s HFC is currently responsible for most of the gigabit coverage).

NOTE: Providers will usually advertise gigabit (1Gbps) packages alongside “average” speeds of 900Mbps+, which reflects a 2018 requirement by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for all ISPs to advertise the median as measured at peak time.

Assuming the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit rural broadband rollout programme achieves its targets, then we should see gigabit coverage reach around 85% by the end of 2025, before possibly achieving universal coverage by 2030 or later (here). Gigabit speeds are not an automatic upgrade for existing connections, thus you’d need to order the package from a supporting ISP in order to receive it.

In terms of cost, readers will notice that there are some significant price differences between ISPs below, which isn’t merely a reflection of the competitive market. Different packages often come attached to different features (e.g. static IP addresses, better routers, public WiFi etc.) and some networks have also been deployed using different methodologies or technologies, which impacts the price.

For example, B4RN adopts the community benefit society approach and operates a closed network, where the community helps to build and fund the infrastructure – this tends to result in a cheaper service (i.e. not profit orientated). By comparison, Openreach (BT) runs a commercial open access network, albeit one that has the baggage of heavily regulated copper infrastructure to balance (i.e. it’s usually more expensive).

In addition, providers that build almost exclusively in rural areas also tend to be more expensive, as this reflects the higher cost of deployment. On the other hand, the new generation of commercial and urban-focused alternative network (AltNet) providers, many of which are trying to steal away customers from established players, can be much more aggressive on price.

The Gigabit Comparison (Feb 2022 Data)

Before we get started, it’s important to state that we will not be adding any new 1Gbps providers to this year’s list, and there are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, a huge number of new providers have launched gigabit plans since last year’s update, thus we’d end up duplicating work on our ISP Listings page. Secondly, the goal of this update is to check how prices for existing services have changed, if at all, since 2021.

Much like last year, our 2022 summary will generally only take a standalone package from each operator, except in cases where the package is unavoidably bundled alongside a voice (phone) product. We’ll also reflect the post-contract pricing after any discounts, provided those discounts last the full length of the operator’s initial minimum term (shorter discounts will be ignored as they’re harder to compare).

Continued on page 2..

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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16 Responses
  1. Regorimabitbackward says:

    I understand the reasoning for an isp building 1Gps or higher to future proof their network, and then having built such a network to offer to it to the general public, but what I think would be interesting linked to this article is the actual take up figures. As you say most users would find it difficult to max out such a service. I currently have a 100mb service from Virgin Media and for our household this proves perfectly satisfactory. One other question I have is, if all users opted for 1Gps would the infrastructure cope, having a 1Gps available network is one thing, actually having all customers using it at the same time is something else.

    1. Ray Woodward says:

      Why would anyone want to “max out” a 1Gbs broadband service?

      Surely the whole point is to be able to do more things at the same time …

    2. Ross Floate says:

      I have 1 gbps at home (in Australia) and despite being a home-based designer and moving around heavy files it’s not like I ever really flood it. It does make using cloud storage a much more viable prospect, as the files I have on say iCloud Drive move around as fast as they do on my home network.

      And software updates, game updates etc all happen nice and quick. It’s worth it for me (about $150 AUD a month) but I can see why for most people it’s overkill.

    3. Ross Floate says:

      I have 1 gbps at home (in Australia) and despite being a home-based designer and moving around heavy files it’s not like I ever really flood it. It does make using cloud storage a much more viable prospect, as the files I have on say iCloud Drive move around as fast as they do on my home network.

      And software updates, game updates etc all happen nice and quick. It’s worth it for me (about $150 AUD a month) but I can see why for most people it’s overkill.

    4. CarlT says:

      ‘I did have to purchase a Thunderbolt to 2.5Gbps ethernet adapter to actually get the full speed up and down (rather than the 900ish limit)’

      You wouldn’t ever see that limit around 900 whether you were plugging it into a gigabit port or something else.

      Nor would you ever see the 900-910 limit on some broadband on a DIA.

      It would be higher, but it wouldn’t be a full 1000 Mbit.

    5. CarlT says:

      You will occasionally hear the phrase ‘vanity tier’ and it’s just that. Very few customers need it or will max it out on a regular basis, it downloads 600 GB an hour, however it can be useful for other applications.

      Speedtest are a good one.

      More seriously for us it’s all about doing the same things faster. Even with all my IT goodness in the house I know that averaging throughout the day we use less that 1% of the available downstream and even peak time apart from some bursts we sit at 1-2%.

      ‘One other question I have is, if all users opted for 1Gps would the infrastructure cope, having a 1Gps available network is one thing, actually having all customers using it at the same time is something else.’

      No, it couldn’t. Even customers on high tiers tend to have usage patterns like mine once the novelty wears off. It doesn’t actually take that much relative to all the bandwidth that’s sold to make the infrastructure saturate but while the average user is in single digits Mbps usage at peak it’s all good.

      The networks hold up 97-98% of the time. The worst it’s gotten recently was bits of localised congestion when the stars of games releases and lots of streaming of sport aligned.

    6. CarlT says:

      Excuse how mangled my first comment there was. I’ll bullet point.

      1) A 1 Gbps DIA/leased line/whatever will not tap out at about 900 Mbps.
      2) It will make no appreciable difference to the actual speed connecting it to a network via 2.5G, let alone a single machine.
      3) Neither the original, limited number before the Thunderbolt adapter or the full gigabit number after make sense.

      Make of that what you will. Maybe I am misunderstanding something. I’m still suffering heavily from the Rona so it’s not impossible.

  2. Bent says:

    Xbox series x and ps5 games are over 100 gb in download data so 1 gigabit broadband speed I hate waiting hours or days for 1 game to finish download.

    1. Chris W says:

      Unfortunately download speeds from Xbox services are wildly inconsistent even on a 1Gbps connection, and they never max it out. My PS5 does though.

  3. Gregowski says:

    All my love goes to Toob 🙂

  4. GNewton says:

    There are still many ISPs which don’t offer symmetric fibre. The article should have separated between symmetric and non-symmetric fibre providers in its price comparisons.

    1. CarlT says:

      You are welcome to publish your own tables given how much it bothers you.

  5. CarlT says:

    It’s good to see the trend downwards. Obviously some companies are running at lower pricing than their intended permanent ones so we’ll see where we settle.

    Many of those running on their own networks are going to be acquired. No question. So we might well see pricing come in around the levels being charged for CityFibre.

    Multigig will be more of a thing this year, too. Not sure whether that’ll exert downward pressure on gigabit pricing, we’ll see.

    Interesting times with inevitable consolidation getting closer.

  6. Harry says:

    The only thing that maxxes out my 1gb is when am downloading games

    1. CarlT says:

      Yeah I’ve taken Steam up to nearly 2.2 Gb/s and it could’ve gone higher: the bottleneck was closer to me than them
      .

      Be interesting to see how high it can actually go, I have seen YouTube videos of it at 5 Gb/s and image CPU or I/O on decompression starting to become an issue way up there even on very meaty machines.

    2. CarlT says:

      *Imagine, not image. I’ll briefly have 9.3-ish Gb/s available, the torrent usage of a neighbour that’s not a fan of paying for anything not withstanding, so will see how that does.

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