Velocity1 may be new, and may only be available on one new development known as Wembley City that will comprise of 10,000 homes when finished, but it increases the number of options for people seeking a 25Mbps or faster broadband connection.
The launch was at the end of January 2009, but we did not write it up then as we were waiting on feedback from the company as to what the upstream speeds were. Fortunately Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC has paid a visit to the development and reported a speedtest of 75Mbps down and 50Mbps up while using the boost button available to residents. The boost button allows people to decide as and when they need the full 100Mbps that the fibre to each home can provide, otherwise you are limited to a speed defined by the price you pay, i.e. £15 gets you a 8Mbps limit, £19 a 16Mbps limit and £29 tops out at 32Mbps. The boosts cost £1 for 30 minutes, but if you make maximum use of this you can download 22GB in this time.
Bundles are also available that include a telephone line and up to 120 TV and radio channels. While the TV package does not offer all the channels people may want, the availability of HD downloads from places like iTunes means people need not miss out. Services like LOVEFiLM also offer films for download or rental, although it only offers material at what it calls DVD quality currently.
Rory Cellan-Jones raises the age old question of why people need 100Mbps connections. To some extent this applies to people owning a computer and having an Internet connection at all. We can all still do our banking at the local bank and most other online activities are still possible in the real world. Those who were working in the 80's will remember what it was like queueing up at the bank at lunchtime to pay a bill, or writing letters to get standing orders changed. Working from home for many has been a boon bringing savings in the costs of commuting to work, and offering the potential for more time with the family.
While 100Mbps is not needed for most online activities, having speeds of 25Mbps or more means, that one member of a family playing an online game will not be affected by someone else doing some web browsing or streaming a TV show. With connections of 1 or 2Mbps you usually find that one activity is fine, but get two or three devices online that are doing more than just reading websites and you find yourself staring at the screen while a video rebuffers. In the 20's and 30's radio was the key form of home entertainment; by the 60's and 70's television was king, and the start of the 21st century is seeing Internet activities starting to take over.