back to article 10.8 million UK homes now have access to gigabit-capable broadband, with much of the legwork done by Virgin Media

A new Ofcom report shows the number of UK homes with access to gigabit-capable broadband hit 10.8 million in January, representing 37 per cent of households. The figures were part of Ofcom's Interim Connected Nations report [PDF] and covered September 2020 to January 2021. Overall, the number of gigabit-capable lines …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Gigabit...

    Gigabit download, but what's the upload from Vermin?

    Used to be a terrible ratio

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Upload?

      With 1Gb/s of adverts to watch you will not have time to upload.

      1. X5-332960073452
        Stop

        Re: Upload?

        Ahh, the American Dream

    2. Victor Ludorum

      Re: Gigabit...

      Their marketing bumf mentions 52Mbps upload, so a fairly typical 20:1 ratio...

      1. Mishak

        Re: Gigabit...

        BT provisioned FTTP services seem to offer 900/100 as the fastest.

        I don't think there is any reason why the system can't be reconfigured to offer higher uploads, but it seems that it's not considered important at the moment (which is not true if you're trying to move lots of data to cloud services).

        1. John Robson Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Gigabit...

          Nor if you run offsite backups to your friend's house...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Gigabit...

            "Nor if you run offsite backups to your friend's house..."

            Unless you are doing a full backup every time, surely speed isn't that big an issue? Unless you are generating very large amounts of data on a daily basis, incremental backups should be too onerous.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Oops

              incremental backups shouldn't be too onerous.

              Oops, meant shouildn't, of course :-)

            2. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Gigabit...

              Photos etc each day add up. And that initial backup is a major factor ...

              Rsync is good, but it is t magic

          2. ITMA

            Re: Gigabit...

            "Nor if you run offsite backups to your friend's house..."

            As Gandalf so succinctly put it - "Do not tempt me!" LOL

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Gigabit...

        20:1 is not typical for anything other than vermin media - I get ~4:1 (72/18 Mbps)

        So whilst 52Mbps upload would still be a boost... The gigabit claim is rather one sided.

        I don't expect complete symmetry without paying extra for it, but my logs already show that I upload more than 5% of the amount of data that I download.

        By the time someone is looking at gigabit internet, they probably want a little bit more upload capacity than 5% of that.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Gigabit...

        "Their marketing bumf mentions 52Mbps upload, so a fairly typical 20:1 ratio..."

        It may vary, depending on the package. My package is 100/10, so a 10:1 ratio there.

        1. Quando

          Re: Gigabit...

          The Gigabit is 1000/52. Upgraded to it about a month ago from their 350/35.

          Pretty hard to get more than about 700 download out of it (probably due to my kit setup), but the upload is as specced.

    3. anthonyhegedus

      Re: Gigabit...

      I am so glad it's not just me who calls it vermin

      1. NoOnions

        Re: Gigabit...

        Well, I'm happy with VM - I've downloaded TBs of data (working from home during lockdown) and my service has been totally stable.

    4. Oneman2Many

      Re: Gigabit...

      Outside of IT community, 99.9999999999% of people don't even know their upload speed, for most ISP they don't even bother advertising it. As long as they can do a few zoom sessions and upload their social media pics they are happy.

      Fast upload isn't a money maker, people aren't making their ISP selection on it.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Gigabit...

        But at the moment, a lot of households are trying to do 3 or 4 zoom sessions simultaneously, whilst also connecting to rdp sessions. And they are noticing the limitations of their connection.

        1. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: Gigabit...

          Most households won’t have their WiFi set properly.

          Many will get as fast BB as possible and then their devices will connect via 2.4GHZ WiFi n topping out at likely 54mbs when all the slower 2.4GHZ stuff is online and interference from neighbours.

          Even on WiFi ac ap’s can drop you into congestee 5GHZ channels like 36.

          Sky q uses 80mhz from channel 36 which is also max 1/5 power of channel 100+, suddenly gig down bb is just more money for the isp without passing more traffic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gigabit...

        Outside of IT community, 99.9999999999% of people don't even know their upload speed

        Given that there are about 7.8 billion people in the world, and assuming that most of them are outside the IT community, you are saying that 0.0078 of a person doesn't know their upload speed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me

    Or is the Ofcom website unreachable at the moment?

    If so, I think they're taking their Censorship remit a bit too far.

    1. Victor Ludorum
      Pint

      Re: Is it just me

      Yup, down for me too. Server's gone for an early Friday one of these ->

      I hope they haven't been hit with ransomware...

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    I take Virgin's entry level product, 110 mbits, I barely touch it for my use, even streamed TV. But they won't do a 20 mbits package for half the price.

    It's like buying 2 litres of milk to make a cup of tea.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Where do you get the 110Mbps speed from?

      A quick look on their web site shows 50Mbps seems to be the entry level, although that one isn't available as broadband only (50Mbps has to be with a phone line, for broadband only min is M100):

      M50 : average speed 54Mbps *

      M100 : average 108Mbps *

      M200 : average 213Mbps *

      M350 : average 362Mbps *

      M500 : average 514Mbps *

      M600 : average 630Mbps *

      The last one, M600, only seems to be available under an Ultimate bundle, with maxed out TV and mobile etc).

      Or do these options vary by region? i.e. Depending on your local VM network being updated or not?

      * Their figures. I'm not a customer, but they did just lay fibre down my street, so just curious how accurate these speeds are?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Where do you get the 110Mbps speed from?

        From the cable of course. Where else would I get it? The hot water tap?

        That's the number that Ookla test gives me consistently.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        I'm on M200 and get ~220Mbps. I've not seen any advertising for FTTP from them yet. Which is odd as they are the second most promiscuous ad-flingers in my town, the first being the Lib Dem council who never miss a trick to promote themselves and who received massive criticism during full lockdown by continuing to send people door-to-door posting irrelevant electioneering bumf which they claimed was (1) essential local news [it wasn't] and (2) making use of the existing postal service partially [true, but less than helpful when they are walk sorting to every door down a street like some kind of super vector]

    2. adam 40 Bronze badge

      I'm the other way around

      I pay for 100Mbps with virgin, but rarely get over 20Mbps....

      Too many users in my area and the trunking ratio is awful.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'm the other way around

        Well, as Werdsmith just posted above, he pays for 100 and gets 110.

        I also pay for 100 and generally get 90-110 depending on time of day.

        VM have problems, maybe what could be described as problem areas, but getting poor service in one area doesn't mean that everyone will agree with you. The problem with VM isn't so much the problem areas, it's how they own up to and deal with the problems. Unfortunately, like most companies these days, they deny there are problems and when forced to admit to them, fail to be transparent or timely in dealing with them. That's not a VM problem as such, it's an endemic corporate problem.

        1. Anonymous IV
          Meh

          Re: I'm the other way around

          I consistently get 112 Mbps / 10 Mbps day-in, day-out, as measured by the Sam Knows white box router.

          If only one didn't have to ring them up every six months or so to get some discounts applied to the latest price increase...

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: I'm the other way around

          Virgin have very well-known total failures to upgrade their local backhaul to match what they've sold.

          I spent nearly three years on shitty Virgin before they actually upgraded to give me what I was paying for.

          I only stuck with them because the DSL was worse, which was probably why they felt it better to keep partially refunding me every couple of months than to provide the actual service.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: I'm the other way around

        Let me guess...

        Your infrastructure dates back to the days of NTL then?

        all my neighbours suffer from their legacy and Vermin still try to flog me 1Gb.... They are having a larf.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I'm the other way around

          NTL Infrastructure is cable and is what enables VM to offer faster than DSL speeds with DOCSIS 3.1

  4. BenDwire
    FAIL

    So close, and yet so far

    I can see the green vermin box from my front door, yet they won't connect me up because my (shared) drive is too long. It's less than 20 metres long, but it's tarmac and the contractors are limited to to number of bags of cold tarmac they can use ( 4 IIRC ). I tried to get connected 5+ years ago as my only other option is ADSL via an Exchange Only line (i.e. no FFTC) but they simply weren't interested, I even escalated it with the contractor's VM contact and offered to sign up for a longer contract, but no.

    I reckon my line would have paid for itself many times over by now, but instead I have to suffer ADSL.

    Infuriatingly, my house is classified as being capable of having a Gigabit connection due to that VM cabinet, so Openreach see my road as low priority.

    Even more infuriatingly, it took over 2 years to get VM to stop sending junk sign-up offers ... Every, Single, Week!

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: So close, and yet so far

      Can't you have your own contractor install ducting, so VM only have to blow in the fibre?

      1. Binraider Bronze badge

        Re: So close, and yet so far

        The odds of actually speaking to a person at Vermin are near zero. All their customer service interactions follow pre-set scripts and if you don't fit, your message isn't received. Probably not understood either.

        We still begrudgingly use them for the time being, however as Starlink's latency improves I have absolutely zero reason to stay tied to a wire. On a long enough time frame, Vermin and OpenReach are both dead.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: So close, and yet so far

          Starlink is a satellite service, so their latency is limited by the speed of light, and will always be higher than ground-based services.

          1. Emir Al Weeq

            Re: So close, and yet so far

            I thought katrinab's comment was wrong: lightspeed wouldn't be significant, so I did some sums*...

            Wikipedia says a 2nd shell satellite will be just 540km up, that's a round-trip-time of about 3.6ms assuming each end of the link is more or less directly below. But worst case would be a 3rd shell satellite (altitude 570km) on the horizon, about 2,750km* away, which gives 18ms RTT, assuming each end sees it on the horizon. Reality is going to be somewhere in between.

            Have an upvote katrina.

            ( *which used basic geometry with Earth radius of 6,371km. )

            1. katrinab Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: So close, and yet so far

              Indeed. I don't think people appreciate just how slow light is when you are working at computer speeds.

    2. Fair Play
      FAIL

      Re: So close, and yet so far

      ... my only other option is ADSL...

      Be thankful. Here in rural Scotland, I'm paying £25/month for ADSL Max, which was an obsolete technology ten years ago, on which we get blisteringly slow 3Mbps at the best of times - which are few and far between. The only possible downgrade is to wet string.

      And the faint possibility of getting superfast broadband (up to 30Mbps) has just been pushed back to 2026, just in time for the switch-off across the whole United Kingdom of analogue telephony over copper pair DELs.

      On the bright side, if I win the Lottery we will be able to afford StarLink.

  5. David Pearce

    Starlink?

    You do realize that Starlink is a shared bandwidth, A single satellite passing overhead is serving how many potential customers?

    This is a reasonable summary - better than ADSL

    https://interestingengineering.com/elon-musk-promised-starlink-internet-speed-1-gbps

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Starlink?

      The StarLink antenna will see multiple StarLink sats constantly, the more sats they fly the less congested they will be.

      Moaning about StarLink is like asking what the point in 3/4/5G is.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Starlink?

        I don't think anyone is "moaning" about Starlink.

        Just pointing out the fundamental limitations of that kind of service.

        The place where services like Starlink shine are where running a fibre is impossible, or so difficult/costly as to be economically unviable.

        So that's things that move, like ships and aircraft, and homes, farms and mobile phone towers sufficiently far out in the countryside that running a fibre would cost too much to be worth it - likely mostly in wayleave/ground rent rather than actual installation and maintenance.

        And in telescopes, sadly.

        I think it has a pretty good future serving ships, for example. Current satellite Internet services are very slow and expensive, so Starlink can easily compete.

  6. AW-S

    Toob to our rescue

    They are starting to dig outside next week to provide FTTP 900/900 this summer for £25.00 a month.

    This groundwork comes exactly 33 years since Virgin (then Videotron) laid cable TV and connected to us. But we can't connect to Virgin due to an unpaid invoice from 1989 - which neither I nor they have any actual record of. We just have a marker on our address to not provide service.

    That's why I am still on FTTC 40/10, with Plusnet.

  7. Martin Silver badge

    Gigabit? Pah - old news!

    Here in York, I've had Gigabit fibre to my house for just over eighteen months, from - wait for it - TalkTalk. It was meant to be some sort of joint venture between TalkTalk and Sky but it ended up being just TalkTalk. I know their customer service is not normally great, but for this they have a dedicated help line in case of issues (which have been few and far between, it must be said.)

    Of course, they don't seem to be expanding it, and I'm wondering if they are going to quietly drop it, or sell it to Virgin Media or something.

    But at the moment, it's working fine, and it's great.

    1. Yorkiebar1

      Re: Gigabit? Pah - old news!

      Here in York, I've had Gigabit fibre to my house for just over eighteen months, from - wait for it - TalkTalk. It was meant to be some sort of joint venture between TalkTalk and Sky but it ended up being just TalkTalk.

      I've been supporting clients all over the City and it's really not hard to " sell the upgrade " to UFO. Once it's explained properly and importantly reassure them it's not the usual shit TT customer service and support.

      The TT / sky JV was an experiment really. Sky packages really weren't competitive on speed and price compared to what TT offers. Some clients have been transferred from FTTH to FTTC or Gfast during the yearly package upgrades. TT have sold the Fibrenation ( UFO ) to Cityfibre so we will see other ISPs on the network at some point soon.

      I know their customer service is not normally great, but for this they have a dedicated help line in case of issues (which have been few and far between, it must be said.)

      Reliability is very good but I've seen a few issues. DNS is very flaky at times and has gone down completely at one point and took everyone offline at once. The bundled router really doesn't help it's ok but hardly reaches the full potential of the connection. Ethernet and a mesh router is the way to go.

      Tech support and customer service have always been spot on. In the early days of the trial in Clifton I was on the phone a few times a week doing setups. Always very efficient a on the ball. I've not had any reasons to call out of hours and the forum can be quite useful.

      I'm a little nervous about price rises once everything gets integrated and the TT exclusivity period ends.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Gigabit? Pah - old news!

        Just use someone else’s dns, 1.1.1.1 or 8.8.8.8 are good alternatives.

  8. RSW

    Refuse to connect us

    Virgin did our street just before Christmas and keep putting flyers through the door and sending mailers. Problem is once they turn up to connect the contractors don't want to know as we have a concrete drive. Had two surveys done now and they just won't supply.

  9. hoola Silver badge

    Awesome!!!

    So the bulk is picked up by Virgin Media, what a surprise.

    Achieving these numbers is easy and relatively cheap in real terms if you:

    Only cable profitable, densely populated areas

    Use micro-trenches with the cable about 2" down and don't reinstate anything properly

    Terminate it at a small plastic-covered hole on the property boundary that gets broken and filled with crap.

    What would be more interesting is how many are actually using it and what are they doing with their 1Gb connection?

    Maybe I am missing something but over the last year my 70Mb FTTC has been more than adequate with 2 adults working from home, 2 kids either schooling from home or in the holidays, streaming/gaming non-stop. Very occasionally it slows a bit, usually when there is a big football match on so I assume it is contention at the exchange.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021