Broadband News

More than 1 in 3 UK premises now have a Gigabit broadband option

34.1% of UK premises now have the ability to order a Gigabit download broadband service either from a FTTP operator or using the Virgin Media Gig1 (DOCSIS 3.1 service).

It may seem we are late to the party on this announcement but the last two days have been spent tracking down exactly which bits of London and Northern Ireland can actually get the Gig1 product. The checking is not complete as the screenshot of the Gig1 (light blue) and Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.0 (brown) postcodes shows some parts of London left to check. Some of the areas in London without DOCSIS 3.1 do appear to not be enabled yet. We expect the Gigabit coverage to increase some more beyond the regular FTTP roll-outs but it might only add another 400,000 premises to the total.

Map of Virgin Media DOCSIS networks in London
Postcodes with DOCSIS 3.1 (light blue) and DOCSIS 3.0 (brown) available in London - image taken 7th November 2020

The Gigabit total for London would be higher but the FTTP roll-outs from various providers mean even without the DOCSIS 3.1 switch-on London would have had 20.23% Gigabit coverage. 

The overlapping of Gigabit and FTTP networks is extremely annoying for those waiting for just one of the services to arrive, but if there was some magical system to avoid overbuilding it could leave millions with a notional Gigabit service but potentially poor performance at peak times or a network that sees lots of outages.

Counting DOCSIS 3.1 with its current 1,108 Mbps download service as Gigabit capable when the upload speed is only 52 Mbps is another source of complaints. Some say you cannot work from home with just 52 Mbps upload, but the reality is that once your upload rises above 20 Mbps so that you can have a couple of people in different rooms on Zoom video calls with work colleagues and still do other interactive things such as white boards then the use cases for masses more bandwidth vanish quickly. The upload on the Gig1 service is actually over the DOCSIS 3.0 network still, a future upgrade between now and 2025 is expected to move the upload side to DOCSIS 3.1 too, which will allow for less asymmetric uploads.

The DOCSIS 3.1 switch-on in different areas are a one time event, so while they do jump the Gigabit totals quickly as we are close to half the Virgin Media network supporting DOCSIS 3.1 in a year or so these easy wins will end.


"Brown" postcodes look green to me?

  • candlerb
  • 25 days ago

Umm, do we believe them?

Suppose to be getting FTTP here by the end of next year, from some company called Zzoomm, I believe it when I see it. Oh yes and BT as well in the next couple of years, strange how all of a sudden they all want to come here.

  • zyborg47
  • 25 days ago

Brown or green :-)

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 25 days ago


  • cyberdoyle
  • 25 days ago

Defending the 50mbit is just wrong. Its about the _SPEED_ I can upload and download things that's important, not the number of zoom calls my household can do.

  • doowles
  • 24 days ago

I would be very happy with 52 Mbps upload! Currently I get just 1% of that with Openreach. Just two miles up the road (in the 'villages') they have 'Super Fast' according to the stickers on the cabinet. Strangely they do not have Virgin. Where I live Videotron laid cable before being bought out. However, Openreach's inability to provide better than basic 10Mps download and 0.5 Mbps upload means that TalkTalk et al, who are dependent on Openreach, are unable to offer competitive services to that of Virgin. Offering a parallel service is not 'overbuild' - but much needed competition - in Towns!

  • jonesjh99
  • 24 days ago

As we all must have seen via TV, the upload speed is just as important as download speed to get good quality video calling. I’m lucky with Virgin media’s M350 product, but I need Openreach to give them so competition and drive us towards hyper fast synchronous broadband

  • loaderladdy
  • 23 days ago

@loaderlady Video conferencing generally needs about 2Mb/s to do a decent quality stream. You only upload a single video stream per call and so on 30Mb/s upload you could get potentially 15 or more calls simultaneously. However, if you are in a call with 15 other people then all of their video feeds are being sent to you and therefore you need much more downstream than upstream to do multi way video calls. For most purposes the downstream is still more important than the upstream.

  • ian72
  • 23 days ago

What is the shared bandwidth capacity on docsis 3.1?

  • chrysalis
  • 23 days ago

While interesting, the issue I have with coverage checkers is how reliable the data is.

I know Andrew does a sterling job but (for instance) Virgin Media seem to think they cover the following postcodes

SW18 5LZ
SW18 5NA
SW18 5NB
SW18 5ND

However, all these areas* were missed off their/Videotron's build when they rolled out their network in the 90's.

(*SW18 5NA does have a minority of its properties covered - effectively those also covered by OR PCP 36 rather than OR PCP 32)

There will be other blackspots in coverage which show as available in the maps..

  • gt94sss2
  • 22 days ago

Those four will be off the checker tonight and map once next rendered.

Difference to others is additions/corrections are actioned usually same or next day. So public feedback is rapidly absorbed.

In terms of Gigabit that was one of the areas left to do checks on i.e. just because Virgin say DOCSIS 3.1 in London we did not turn on flag for all postcodes in a London Borough.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 22 days ago

Of course the headline could have read "Just under 2/3rds still can't access Gigabit Broadband"

  • jimtrim
  • 20 days ago

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