Will VirginMedia Gig1 switch on bring UK 1 million premises closer to 100% Gigabit target?
Brilliant news today if you are working towards a goal of Gigabit broadband being available to 100% of the UK, since the news that over 1 million homes in the West Midlands are set to have their top Virgin Media speed jump from 508 Mbps to 1104 Mbps means another chunk is done.
<Today’s announcement means we’re a million homes closer in delivering our plans to deliver gigabit broadband to everyone in the UK. We’re working closely with companies like Virgin Media and investing £5 billion to ensure the hardest to reach areas aren’t left behind - so that every part of the country can enjoy the benefits of a world class internet connection.Oliver Dowden CBE, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture
For existing Virgin Media customers, this does not mean automatic upgrades, but rather you will gain an additional speed tier in the form of Gig1 and at £62/m for broadband only it is not going to see mass adoption, though it is cheaper than the M500 tier where you have to also buy a large TV package. The Gig1 service is available without all the expense of a TV package.
Virgin Media is saying that the switch on will add Gigabit options to over 1 million homes, the reason for our question in the article title is that for example in Coventry District 57,000 premises out of 146,000 premises already have a Gigabit option via the presence of full fibre networks and in Birmingham District it is 111,000 out of 463,000 premises. So we believe it is likely that once the overlap with full fibre networks is accounted for the switch will add less than 1 million premises to the UK gigabit total, unless of course Virgin Media switches on Gig1 for much more than 1 million premises.
Update 12:05pm Minor clarification, the two district council areas obviously have less than 1 million homes in them, but were mentioned to highlight that Gigabit is already available to a good number of households in the cities and an overlap between the Gig1 service and full fibre is expected. The Gig1 roll-out will obviously be covering more premises outside of the two mentioned local authority areas but until we know which exact streets have the Gig1 option added it is difficult to suggest how big the overlap will be.
For those not aware Gig1 is utilising DOCSIS 3.1 on the downstream side and the upgrades to allow this have been underway for some time and future upgrades will move the upload direction onto the DOCSIS 3.1 platform away from the DOCSIS 3.0 version used by millions.
We started tracking the Gig1 service recently and will on Saturday provide a roundup of where the UK and local authorities are with respect to Gigabit availability, the short version is that with the UK has a Gigabit option available to over 4.3 million premises which works out at 14.32%, full fibre coverage is at 12.40% (3.7 million premises).