VodafoneZiggo has announced that Utrecht will have access to gigabit internet from 15 October. This super fast internet will become more widely available in the future. But what exactly is this, what's the use of it, and how do you get it?

What is gigabit internet?

Gigabit internet refers to the speed of the internet. Internet speed is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Gigabit internet, on the other hand, is internet with a speed of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). No less than ten times as much as the Dutch average of 100 Mbps. Because of this higher speed you can watch the Netflix, play games or download files with the whole family at the same time.

Internet with a speed of more than 1 Gbps does not always work on every cable. Fiber optic, a new type of cable as thick as a hair, is capable of delivering these speeds. Information is moved with such a cable by means of light instead of electrical signals in copper cables, which means that fiber is theoretically faster.

Due to a new technology, gigabit internet has a better capacity, which is important to be able to use more devices at the same time. But don't we have much to complain about the current internet speed in the Netherlands?

That's right, but this development is still needed, says Tim Poulus, analyst at Telecompaper, because if the increase in smart devices continues, it will become increasingly important to have a fast internet connection. "This is especially important for video streams from cameras and doorbells, because they use a lot of data."

Poulus also emphasizes that the right equipment is very important for consumers. "If your router supports a maximum of 600 Mpbs, you will never experience gigabit speeds via Wi-Fi."

Poulus says that most of the cable network in the Netherlands nowadays consists of fiber optics. For VodafoneZiggo, the most important part of the network consists of the neighborhood cabinets made entirely of fiberglass. The majority of KPN's cable network consists of fiber optics, with the exception of just under 10 percent in rural areas. The KPN network is used by many Dutch providers, including T-Mobile.

Most households run a coax or copper cable from the wardrobes. "Because the length of these cables is relatively short, 57 meters on average, the internet speed remains good," says Poulus. This allows consumers to reach a speed of 1 Gbps without the need for fiber to the house.

What is the use of gigabit internet?

According to Poulus, Gigabit Internet is especially interesting for companies where many large files have to be shared via the Internet, which requires a high upload speed. A fiber optic network is capable of providing an upload speed that is just as fast as the download speed. Older copper cables cannot reach a high upload speed.

"My sons prefer to play games all day, while my daughter watches her favorite Netflix series." Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo

The higher speed also ensures that more data can be used at the same time. Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo, gives his own family as an example. "My two sons prefer to play all day, my daughter watches her favorite series on Netflix, while my wife and I use the internet while we're working."

A higher internet speed is also useful for people with multiple smart devices. Think of IP cameras, smart thermostats, and video doorbells, all connected to the internet. The more devices you have, the more internet speed you need for this to work. This is possible due to the increased capacity of gigabit internet.

“In two years we will no longer talk about 1 gigabit per second. Then maybe it's about 5 gigabit per second. ”Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo

Hoencamp also says that the new gigabit internet is primarily a preparation for the future. New innovations such as augmented reality (a virtual layer over the real world), and holograms will use a lot of data. "In two years' time we might be talking about 5 gigabit per second. We would like to be prepared for this by already installing the infrastructure." Steltenpool says that "KPN wants to be ready for a higher demand for upload speed". "We want to provide for this with gigabit internet."

How do you get gigabit internet?

VodafoneZiggo starts gigabit internet in Utrecht in October, which will be expanded to two thirds of its customers in 2020. In just over two years, it is intended that all VodafoneZiggo customers, currently 7.2 million households, have access to gigabit internet. Customers who opt for gigabit receive VodafoneZiggo equipment and cables that actually achieve these speeds.

"The VodafoneZiggo cable network covers 93 percent of the Netherlands. This means that 93 percent of households have the option of taking out an internet subscription with VodafoneZiggo," said Hoencamp. "Zeeland is one of the locations where we are not active."

“Customers really have to experience the speed. That is essential for us. ”Joost Steltenpool, network director KPN

Joost Steltenpool, network director of KPN, says that KPN takes gigabit internet very seriously. "In 2021 we will offer optical fiber to 3.4 million households. This number will continue to rise in the years thereafter." KPN has the ambition to deliver high upload speeds in addition to gigabit download speeds. "In addition, it is essential that customers really experience the speed. For that, we provide equipment that can make this happen."

A spokesperson for T-Mobile, the third largest internet provider, only wants to say that the company is fully focused on 4G and 5G, and is not busy delivering gigabit internet in the future.

According to Poulus, the three major internet providers are currently able to offer gigabit internet. "In places where the core of the KPN network consists of fiber optic, providers can theoretically offer gigabit internet. The network of VodafoneZiggo should also be able to do this. Providers, however, choose to limit the speed, possibly so that they can make more money. ask for a higher speed, "says Poulus.