Virgin Media and BT customers are missing out on the best speeds
Some of the UK’s biggest broadband providers, including BT and Virgin Media, now offer ultra-fast connections that offer the ability to whiz a Full HD movie to a TV in under 40 seconds or a massive PS5 blockbuster to consoles in less than 40 seconds. about 10 minutes. Blazing fast speeds of 1 Gbps are being rolled out across the country at a rapid pace, offering downloads 30 times faster than the current UK average.
That all sounds pretty impressive and with so many of us working from home now, having a 1 Gbps connection could become vital in the future. Despite huge investments in this new technology, it seems that most consumers have no idea they have access to it.
According to a new report from Which? 6 out of 10 consumers are not yet aware of gigabit-capable broadband.
Which? found that many broadband users are baffled by some of the terminology used by Internet service providers (ISPs) and the confusion makes it difficult to know which service is best. For example, some ISPs say they offer “fiber optic” speeds when it’s actually a mix of slower older copper cables and more advanced fiber technology.
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It’s not uncommon to find high-speed fiber optic cables under the street, which are then slowed down by aging copper pipes actually entering the house. A study showed that consumers often think they have a ‘full fibre’ connection, when it’s not really available where they live.
Even when full speeds of 1 Gbps are offered, it seems that most homes are not aware of the real benefit of Which? say a lack of understanding of the potential benefits of gigabit connections was also a problem for two in five consumers.
Many reported being unclear about how it differs from their current connection.
Finally, there is the issue of price, as 1 Gbps is much more expensive than most standard contracts.
Virgin Media, for example, offers 100 Mbps speeds for £25 per month, while the 1 Gbps option will set you back over £60. That’s a high price for Internet access, but it can be worth the money if you live in a busy house.
One thing to remember is that the internet in your home is a bit like a highway. The more traffic going through it, the slower it can get. Basically, this means that if your kids are downloading huge PS5 games and watching Disney+ in 4K while you’re out in the morning, Teams meetings can take a hit.
That’s where the 1 Gbps speeds come into their own, as they can handle a lot more traffic.
Speaking of the investigation, Rocio Concha, Which one? director of policy and advocacy and chair of the Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group said: “Digital connectivity has never been more important, with the pandemic highlighting how consumers depend on good broadband connectivity for everyday activities such as remote working, access to services and keep in touch with family and friends.
“The demand for faster, more reliable broadband services is critical to the success of the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband and to ensure that the benefits of these connections are realised. Better information about the benefits, measures to improve the language used to describe these services, along with possible targeted voucher and discount schemes, will help to remove the barriers that prevent consumers from taking advantage of better connections.”
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