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Wednesday, 7 Feb 2024 | 7 min read

What is gigabit internet and do you need it?

Written by Heidi Kraak, Marketing Copywriter and Michael Hayman, Content Writer

A network device with multiple ethernet cables attached

Over the last few years, gigabit internet plans have become increasingly available - and cheaper. With the growing need for high-speed broadband, gigabit internet's time as "the new internet" is fast approaching.

Nationwide gigabit speeds may sound like a fanciful dream – particularly in a country as vast as Australia. However, that reality may be closer than you think.

As the nbn® fibre and 5G networks continue to roll out, faster internet speeds are becoming increasingly accessible to homes and businesses across Australia.

It’s true – speed isn’t the only factor that makes up a good internet service. Reliability, cost, and scalability are also important. However, access to fast internet opens up a host of opportunities for Australians. And Gamers aren’t the only ones who should be getting excited about the prospect of gigabit speeds.

In today's digital-first world, Australian businesses rely on fast internet more than ever. A speedy, connection helps them reach new markets, utilise the latest technologies and connect communities.

What is gigabit internet?

Before we look at the benefits of gigabit internet and its rollout across Australia, it’s important to understand what it is.

Gigabit internet refers to an internet connection that allows users to download data at a rate of 1,000 megabits (Mb) – or one gigabit (Gb) – per second. One gigabit is equal to around 125 Megabytes (MB)/0.125 Gigabytes (GB).

Let's put that into perspective. A HD movie that runs for two hours is typically around 2GB, and would take 16 seconds to download at 1000Mbps. So with gigabit internet, you can download enough movies for a twelve-hour flight in just 96 seconds. Pretty handy if you're rushing out the door!

What is symmetrical gigabit internet?

Symmetrical gigabit internet refers to a gigabit internet connection that offers an identical download and upload speed. Symmetrical gigabit internet is currently the only way to attain gigabit upload speeds. As such, it's ideal for users who do a lot of uploading, such as businesses.

Read more: What is symmetrical internet, and why does your business need it?

What technology supports gigabit internet?

There are a range of ways to achieve close to gigabit internet. While dedicated fibre-optic infrastructure cannot guarantee gigabit speeds, it’s the most likely to deliver consistently high speeds.

For nbn® connections, the ability to reach gigabit speeds depends on your connection type the maximum speed available at your premises. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) are the connection technologies that can support gigabit speeds.

high speed fibre

Acccess gigabit internet with a $0 FTTP upgrade

Access Ultrafast business nbn™ plans with a $0** FTTP upgrade. See if your business address is eligible for the upgrade.

Check your address

*Additional external costs may apply. Currently only available for eligible customers with a FTTN or FTTC connection. Customers must sign up to an eligible high-speed plan when upgrading. This plan change will only take effect once the FTTP connection is activated. Offer subject to service qualification for nbn® FTTP upgrade. Full fibre upgrade T&Cs apply. Not available at all premises. Current FTTN eligible nbn® plans are from 100/40 or higher. Current FTTC eligible nbn® plans are 250/100 plan or higher. All prices subject to change without notice. Actual speeds may vary due to external factors including in-building wiring.

 

**$0 fibre upgrade subject to site qualification check on only available on 36 month contract. Actual wholesale speeds capped at 952Mbps as prescribed by nbn® due to many factors including equipment and network limitations not operated by Aussie Broadband.

 Additionally, proponents of the 5G network are confident it will easily achieve gigabit speeds when it reaches its peak. However, it’s still early days for the network.

How can Australians access gigabit speeds?

Broadband wholesaler NBN is actively rolling out infrastructure that will increase access to gigabit internet in Australia.

Fibre Connect: NBN's 1000 – or Ultrafast – plans are becoming increasingly accessible thanks to the wholesaler’s $4.5 billion network investment program (fibre connect program). The program aims making the highest wholesale speed tiers (which include gigabit internet) available to 90% of homes and businesses on the fixed line network by the end of 2025. Currently, 61% of addresses are eligible for a full fibre upgrade, meaning they can access nbn® plans up to 1000Mbps.

Read more: Why upgrade to fibre? Not all NBN connections are created equal

Enterprise Ethernet: Additionally, as part of the NBN's fibre rollout program, 9 out of 10 businesses across the country are eligible for a $0 fibre upgrade* when signing up to a 36-month nbn® Enterprise Ethernet plan. Previously, the high cost of installation barred many businesses from accessing the superior, enterprise-grade infrastructure, which is capable of gigabit speeds.

Read more: nbn®️ Fibre to the Premises vs Enterprise Ethernet: What’s the difference?

It's important to remember that fibre cannot guarantee gigabit speeds at all times – there are other factors at play. However, accessing gigabit speeds is simply impossible on older copper connections. That's why the fibre rollout package is a big deal.

For homes and businesses across the country, a fibre connection, paired with a service provider that consistently monitors network usage and doesn’t over-purchase bandwidth, is your best bet in achieving close to gigabit speeds.

Will the 5G network reach gigabit speeds?

The gradual expansion of the 5G network across the nation will also go some way in bringing the country up to gigabit speeds. In lab testing, 5G has reached peak download speeds of 4.2 gigabits/second. While users aren’t likely to experience those kinds of speeds in day-to-day use in the short term, it’s still early days for the network.

Read more: 5G vs nbn®️ - What's the best internet for your business?

It’s worth noting, however, that there are possibilities for 5G technology and fixed-line infrastructure to work together to improve speed outcomes for rural and regional Australian communities. In 2021, NBN achieved a world record for long-range 5G transmission. The successful trial was exploring how 5G technology could optimise the existing NBN network in remote and regional communities.

It may take some time before 5G users can full realise the technology's capabilities. That said, it’s encouraging to see some early success.

Which industries benefit from gigabit internet?

Just about every industry can benefit from gigabit speeds.

Many emerging business trends are dependent on fast and reliable connectivity. AI, for example, is rapidly transforming the way businesses manage everything from customer service and marketing to manufacturing. Similarly, the Internet of Things promises to transform business operations across all industries, and a fast and stable connection is at its foundation.

Gigabit speeds – or close to it – can facilitate these emerging trends and help Australian businesses stay ahead of the curve.

Perhaps less obviously, the healthcare industry is also more dependent on bandwidth and ultrafast speeds than ever. New technologies, such as patient IoT devices, digital imaging and EMR equipment, and even the uptick in telehealth services means the industry will increasingly depend on fast connections.

In fact, Australian organisations are becoming so reliant on connectivity that NBN has committed to establishing business fibre zones to support faster, more reliable business connectivity. These precincts include major hospitals and education/research facilities.

Can I get gigabit internet?

To get gigabit internet, your address needs to be eligible for fibre internet.

Aussie Broadband has a number of fibre internet options that allow for gigabit speeds. And eligibility criteria is different for each one.

First up is business nbn® delivered via FTTP. Click here to see if your address is eligible a $0* FTTP upgrade. And if you're already on Fibre to the Premises, you can sign up for our NBN 1000 plan online.

For a symmetrical, business-dedicated fibre internet connection that can go even faster, check if you're eligible for nbn® Enterprise Ethernet or Aussie Fibre.

If you're not sure which fibre internet plan is right for your business, check out our guide to fibre internet to compare the different connections.

Do I need gigabit internet?

While gigabit internet enables unmatched productivity, it might be overkill for some businesses - for now, at least. 

Gigabit internet is best for large teams working with high-bandwidth applications and collaborating via the cloud. Ultrafast download and speeds are also essential to businesses that regularly transfer large files.

But if you have a small team with less reliance on high-bandwidth applications, you may not need to go as high as 1000Mbps to get the most out of your business internet.

However, as technology continually improves, businesses of all sizes will one day require gigabit internet to keep up with industry developments. So, if you're looking to future-proof your business by getting a head start on emerging technologies, it might be worth upgrading your internet connection.

But if you don't need to upgrade right away, Aussie Broadband makes switching speed tiers effortless. Say you're considering implementing new technology that needs extra bandwidth. If you're an Aussie Broadband Business nbn® customer, all you have to do is go on the MyAussie® app and change your plan. It's that simple. So if you think your business will need to upgrade to gigabit internet in the future, you don't necessarily need to get it ahead of time.

The future of gigabit speeds for Australia

While nationwide gigabit speeds may not be on the cards for the immediate future, we’re definitely seeing positive steps forward. NBN’s Fibre Connect and Enterprise Ethernet fibre expansion packages as well as the rollout of 5G is a good start. Who knows – gigabit speeds for all Australians may not be too far away, after all!

$0 Fibre Upgrade

Looking for ultra fast speeds to power your business?

Find out if you’re eligible for $0 fibre upgrade built out to your premises with our free address checker. To learn more, call our friendly Australian-based team of experts on 1300 161 625.

Check your address
*Due to equipment and network limitations the maximum wholesale speed of business nbn®️ Enterprise Ethernet is 952Mbps. Actual throughput speeds may vary due to many factors including the performance of network equipment not operated by Aussie Broadband. Terms and conditions apply.

Tags:Internet SpeedBusinessFTTP

Written by

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Heidi Kraak

Marketing Copywriter

Heidi Kraak is a former Marketing Copywriter at Aussie Broadband....

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Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael has worked as a content marketer since 2016, predominantly in the B2B space. He is passionate about writing educational content that helps small and medium businesses run, grow and...

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