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Google wants you to download 4K movies in under a second



We don’t have Google Fiber in the UK, but based on this news, we’d like to.

Google is targeting ridiculously fast broadband download speeds for the Google Fiber internet service, a new job posting reveals.

The company suggests it’s looking to grow bandwidth to as high as 1Tb/s – that’s about 50,000 times the average UK broadband speed. That’s according to the description for a US job opening at Google Fiber for a Photonics Engineer, as first spotted by Business Insider.

The main challenge for the role, the posting explains, will be to “enable scalable access network bandwidths beyond Gb/s per user in a cost effective manner”.

The next step up from Gb/s is, of course, Tb/s (Terabit per second). In the UK, the average broadband speed is around 22Mb/s, and Google Fiber currently offers 1Gb/s in the US.

google fiberGoogle Fiber is only available in the US

How fast are Tb/s speeds?

At 1Tb/s, it takes just eight seconds to download one Terabyte of data.

To give you an idea of scale, one Terabyte is equivalent to 1,000 Gigabytes. The average file size of a 4K movie is estimated to be just 100GB.

That means with a 1Tb/s internet speed, you could theoretically download a 4K movie in an eighth of a second. And a Blu-ray movie – which averages at about 25GB – would arrive in a quarter of that time.

But 1Tb/s is only the beginning. Eventually, speeds could go well beyond the Terabit entry point, making access to all media near-instantaneous.

Related: Netflix vs Amazon Video

Unfortunately, the fact that Google is still researching how to develop this technology means there’s no telling when such speeds will be available to consumers.

Still, it’s nice to know that Google is aiming high when it comes to download speeds, and that one day buffering hi-res videos might be a thing of the past.

After all, there’s a growing demand for higher internet speeds as file sizes increase in the wake of 4K and VR content.

What’s more, streaming video games is becoming increasingly popular, increasing the need for high bandwidth and low latency.

How much would you pay for 1Tb/s speeds? Let us know in the comments.

Mark Stanbrook

March 11, 2016, 12:31 pm

If there was full bit-rate 4k content available the question might have some vague value. But there isn't. Neflix and Amazon 4k offerings are lower bit rate than native Blu-Ray 1080p (and cost vastly too much for such awful quality). Even then, 1Gb/s is enough to stream 8 full 4k movies at a time. So what's Tb/s even going to be used for? For 1Gb/s with <10ms latency, no throttling or shaping, I'd pay perhaps £60/month, if the content was there.


March 12, 2016, 12:50 am

This sentence makes me laugh "At 1Tb/s, it takes just *eight* seconds to download one Terabyte of data." So a speed of one terrabyte per second actually means it takes eight seconds to download one terrabyte of data. Shouldn't it be always labeled 'Speeds up to 1Tb/s' ?

Reminds me of Anchorman "60% of the time, it works everytime"


March 12, 2016, 2:28 am

It makes you laugh because you don't understand the terminology. What they are saying is theoretically 100% correct and what you are trying to suggest is absolutely incorrect.
Broadband speeds are measured in BITS per second while data limits are often quoted in BYTES. There are 8 bits to a byte so for a 1 teraBIT connection it would take 8 seconds to download one teraBYTE of data.

Having said that, they did get confused themselves in the article when they went on to suggest you could then download a 100GB file in one eighth of a second. Obviously this is incorrect, it would take 0.8 seconds not 0.125 seconds.

Stephen Hess

March 12, 2016, 2:30 am

While the sentence may make you laugh - the author is 100% correct. 1Tb/s is one TeraBIT per second. As there are 8 bits to a byte, it take 8 terabits to equal one terabyte. The capitalization of the B is key - lowercase is bit, uppercase is byte. Standard metrics are that throughput should always be measured in bits, and storage always measured in bytes.


March 12, 2016, 2:33 am

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

"There is no reason anyone would need a 1Tb/s broadband connection in their home."
- Mark Stanbrook, armchair technology expert, 2016


March 12, 2016, 4:50 am

OK, that was good for a chuckle. But he never said there won't be an application for 1Tb/s.

And he certainly didn't say anything about 1TB/s.


March 12, 2016, 4:54 am

I know, right? Bits, bytes, what's the difference.


March 12, 2016, 4:55 am

Big talk from Mister 1TB/s

Mark Stanbrook

March 12, 2016, 10:01 am

Exactly; and by the time there is a use for Tb/s internet for home users it'll be viewed in the same way as 10 or 30 Mb/s is now - it's what you want and what you expect. So again the question becomes moot as the answer is "sod all".


March 12, 2016, 12:49 pm

One is speed (bits) t'other is volume (Bytes).

I think that is what was said.


March 12, 2016, 1:07 pm

😕 Whaaaaa?

Mr Right

March 12, 2016, 3:26 pm

The description "1Tb/s" means 1 terra bit per second. Not one terra byte. A bit is 1/8th of a byte. therefore a 1Tb/s is .125TBs - I know it looks subtle but there is a massive (8 fold massive) difference between "b" and "B" when describing data transfer speeds.

Mr Right

March 12, 2016, 3:37 pm

That's a whopping 5,000 times faster than my 200Mb/s connection at home here in the UK.
my laptop SSD only has write speeds of 500MB/s or 4000Mb/s vs theoretical download speeds of 1,000,000Mb/s with this new internet connection. Therefore I wouldn't be able to record fast enough - hmmmm. Conclusion - I'll need a new SSD (with massive capacity too)...one that hasn't been invented yet for a small laptop like mine...


March 13, 2016, 5:03 am

Corrected. Feel better now? ;-)


March 13, 2016, 5:04 am

lol, you know I'm right though


July 15, 2016, 1:53 pm

One byte is 8 bits.


July 15, 2016, 2:57 pm

Looks like I need to cut back on the sarcasm...

Owen Hertzs

September 22, 2016, 10:42 pm

I know I am 6 months late to this post but when they say... “enable scalable access network bandwidths beyond Gb/s per user in a cost effective manner” the first thing that comes to my mind is 10Gb/s not 1Tb/s
I am asusming this is an assumption on the authors part :P

thee Stan

January 5, 2017, 8:22 pm

Not true, both can be used to measure either. It's as simple as that there are 8 bits in one byte. You can measure internet speed in bytes if you'd like, it's not factually incorrect to do so (just uncommon).

thee Stan

January 5, 2017, 8:23 pm

Though that is the common way to use these measurements, they're interchangeable. You can measure throughput in bytes and storage in bits if you'd like, either works.

Stephen Hess

January 5, 2017, 8:33 pm

Sure, you can always convert between the two. Doesn't change the fact that the standard metric is different. Saying they are interchangeable is like saying gallons and ounces are interchangeable. Technically accurate - but practically pointless.

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