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What’s 1Gbps Internet & Why do you want it?

Published: August 2016

The NBN is delivering internet speeds that are significantly faster than what the majority of Australian homes are used to. We’re moving from the once “super-fast”, now humble days of ADSL and into a new league of speed.

However, in other parts of the world, including New Zealand, a faster internet speed exists of up to 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps).

Sounds great right? And if New Zealand has it, then surely us Aussies should have it too yeah?

Well, apparently not! In response to questions regarding Australia’s need for 1Gpbs internet, some senior people, stated that Australians don’t want 1Gbps internet speeds, saying “even if we offered it for free… they wouldn’t use it anyway…”

Well, we don’t think that’s entirely accurate…

If you’re not that tech savvy or just want to brush up on your internet lingo, this post will take you through everything you need to know about 1Gbps internet so that you can decide for yourself whether it’s something you’re keen on, or not.

What is Gigabit internet?

1Gbps is an abbreviation for a data transfer speed (we’ll refer to it as internet speed) which downloads up to 1 gigabit of data per second. Although the nbn™ provides a 1Gbps plan, the wholesale cost is currently prohibitive for most Service Providers to offer this at a rate most consumers can afford. For most of us on nbn™ we currently get download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (100Mbps), ADSL connections provide up to 20 megabits per second (20Mbps) however the further you are away from the exchange the speed decreases.

Bits not bytes

Bits and bytes are easy to confuse. They can be distinguished firstly by the abbreviations. A capital B means you’re talking about bytes and a lower case b means you’re measuring in bits.

  • 8 bits (b) = 1 byte (B)
  • 1 Megabit (Mb) = 100,000,000 bits = 12.5 Megabytes (MB)
  • 1 Gigabit (Gb) = 1,000,000,000 bits = 125 Megabytes (MB)

This table shows the maximum speeds available for the given technology along with the amount of data that would be downloaded every second using that connection.

Connection Maximum Speed (bits) Megabytes Downloaded per Second
ADSL 20Mbps 2.5MB
nbn™ 100 100Mbps 12.5MB
nbn™ 1Gbps 1Gbps (1000Mbps) 125MB

How does 1Gbps compare to other known Internet Speeds?

Let’s compare 1Gbps internet speed to other commonly used internet speeds in Australia. This time we’ll lose the numbers and show the difference in loading speeds for your favourite Netflix episode, which on average is a size of 1GB (when shown in High Definition).

Connection Time taken to download 1Gb of High Definition video
ADSL 6 minutes 26 seconds
nbn™ 100 1 minutes 20 seconds
1Gbps 8 seconds

Why don’t all of Australia have it already?

Who has it?

MyRepublic has already set up affordable gigabit internet in Singapore and New Zealand. The service is also offered in other Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Japan by local internet service providers.

What Does this Mean for Australia’s NBN?

Technology is always advancing, and the emergence of gigabit internet over the last few years is evidence of that.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the Australian nbn™ is obsolete. It’s the fastest service that providers are able to offer at affordable prices right now, and it has improved the quality of Australian internet tremendously.

Streaming a movie now takes a fraction of the time it did five years ago!