The UK is getting 1Gbps by 2021, you know, like we should have on the NBN

Australia’s National Broadband Network was debated by politicians, its once ambitious targets to deliver FTTP to 93% of the country were watered down thanks to a lack of ability to imagine future demand.

Virgin Media have just announced they’re going to roll out Gigabit broadband to nearly 15 million households by the end of 2021, with a million by the end of 2019.

While they’re not starting from zero and the land size of the UK is much smaller than Australia, the UK will build a much faster network in a much shorter time frame.

Virgin Media are rolling out DOCSS 3.1 across its cable network, setting up for consumers to take advantage of technology like 8K IPTV streams, cloud gaming, VR and more.

This is a giant digital leap forward for the UK.

Virgin Media has been the unparalleled speed leader for many years. Very soon, for the first time ever, millions of people right across the country will be able to experience hyperfast and reliable gigabit internet connections thanks to the latest technology and the power of our network.

This upgrade plan will see gigabit speeds rolled out at an unrivalled pace right across the country, bringing our customers the future-proof connections of tomorrow.

Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media

Australia’s patchwork of technologies is a legacy former PM Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered for. Fibre-to-the-Node, Fixed Wireless and even Satellite in many parts of Australia could never achieve speeds anywhere close to these, especially as many parts of Australia continue to rely on aging copper.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have FTTP are usually on 100Mbps plans as there’s no affordable 1Gbps plans being offered to consumers.

The average UK broadband connection is going to have the capacity for as much as a 20x improvement, far surpassing Australia’s most common premium plan at just 100Mbps.

When it comes to productivity and commercial applications for 1Gbps, UK residents will now have a huge advantage over being able to accomplish more in less time. When it comes to entertainment of movies and video games, here’s some numbers to make you jealous.

  • Download a high definition (HD) film (5GB) in just 42 seconds, compared to more than 13 minutes on the UK’s average connection.
  • Download an Ultra High Definition 4K film (20GB) in less than 3 minutes, compared to nearly an hour (52 minutes) on the UK’s average connection.
  • Download a chart-topping PlayStation 4 game, for example FIFA 18 (45GB), in just six and a half minutes, compared to nearly 2 hours on the UK’s average connection.

Now for the real heartbreaker. Virgin Media have started trials of full fibre connections at, get this.. more than 8Gbps to homes in Cambridgeshire. This uses Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) technology, a global point-to-point networking standard.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


  1. This is only an Announcement at present – it has yet to happen! and the service cost to the consumer has, as yet, not been announced.

    However where I live (small North Notts. town) I take my hat off to Virgin Media as they managed to dig up the streets install their cables, street infrastructure (not that it is pretty) and run routes to around 200+ property borders in around 4 months.

    When I see the cost I may consider moving from my ancient, but very reliable,18 Mbps up / 1Mbps down economic ADSL2 (which includes phone and calls):-)

    Fortunately the the UK has not (yet) legislated for the removal of copper!

  2. In the opening paragraph it says 1 gig to 15 million. Hardly 93% of uk homes – thus not comparable to original alp nbn and hence misleading headline. Didnt bother reading the rest of article because of that

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