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Virgin Media in 200Meg pilot
Wednesday 06 May 2009 11:01:31 by Andrew Ferguson

How does the ability to download a high quality movie from places like XBox Live in 3 minutes sound? Well thats the sort of speeds a 200Mbps pilot from Virgin Media will allow.

The pilot is limited to just 100 lead adopters in the Ashford area where Virgin Media originally piloted its 50Meg DOCSIS 3.0 service. The press release highlights that the 200Meg pilot is the fastest deployment of cable broadband in the world, with only fibre to the premises deployments offering faster services.

Virgin Media, the UK’s largest residential ISP and provider of the country’s fastest nationwide broadband service, has started a customer pilot to test real-world deployment of 200Mb speeds. Using its brand new ultrafast network, Virgin Media will be piloting blisteringly fast speeds four times faster than the 50Mb service currently available. The 200Mb pilot is believed to be the fastest implementation of DOCSIS3 technology in the world, running faster than services offered in Japan and the US, which currently reach 160Mb and 101Mb respectively.

Following successful lab trials, the pilot started last week in Ashford, Kent, and will build to 100 ‘lead adopters’ who will have the chance to work with Virgin Media to shape the most advanced broadband service in the UK. The pilot customers will put the advanced service through its paces and will be providing invaluable insight into what potential future uses such an ultrafast service may be able to deliver.

Virgin Media on 200Mbps pilot

What would you do with that sort of speed? The answer is probably not one single thing, but 200Meg is enough to stream a number of Blu-Ray quality HD video streams at the same time. While movie streaming/downloads will be a big draw, making money out of this rather than people simply searching for a ripped Blu-Ray will be the challenge. The world of software is changing and with reasonable upstream and low latency a shift back towards a thin-client model may be the way, where the home computer simply renders the screens with all the hard work done on a central server.

No dates are mentioned for when the 200Mbps product may expand beyond Ashford, but we would expect it to be at least a year away. A lot will depend on the sales of the existing 50Mbps product, i.e. are enough people willing to put their wallet behind high speed broadband, or are people willing to save money at the expense of time?

Comments

Posted by fusen over 8 years ago
What about upload speeds!? Not one mention :(

I think my usenet downloading would probably grow by a factor of 10 if I had access to this trial.

Also if the upload was any good then I'd almost definitely be getting my seeding ratio on torrents sites to an ungodly level :P

Come on, who other than pirates needs this sort of connection?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
"How does the ability to download a high quality movie from places like XBox Live in 3 minutes sound? Well thats the sort of speeds a 200Mbps pilot from Virgin Media will allow."

..after that you get throttled down to dial-up speeds for the rest of the day :)
Posted by browney over 8 years ago
Sounds good to me. Stop with the negativity about STM it's far better than having a hard cap in my opinion and download out of STM hours.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
STM is not present on the 50Meg product yet either.

As for what people will do with it, I guess that is a reason for having things like pilots.

No figures for upstream, I did ask, but they are working on it.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
you asked 'what would you do with that sort of speed?' - the answer is we will never know its potential until we have it, and then we will do all sorts of wonderful stuff just like we have done with 1st gen broadband. Who could have forseen youtube, iplayer, Egov, twitter, skype et al in the old dial up days? build houses and people will come. whoohoo, FttH for all of us one day.
Posted by TonyHoyle over 8 years ago
"How does the ability to download a high quality movie from places like XBox Live in 3 minutes sound?"

How about impossible? The Xbox has only a 100Mbps ethernet port. :)

A lot of people are on 100Mbps or, worse, wireless LANs and just aren't capable of transferring that kind of speed anyway (arguably a wireless LAN is going to have trouble saturating even the 50Mb product, since they never achieve the headline speeds).

Gigabit LANs are much cheaper to setup than they used to be.. but still relatively uncommon.
Posted by jellybean2204 over 8 years ago
They can promise what speeds they like but i'm still only getting 11mbps from my supposedly 20mnps package!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
First it was claims of 150Mb and now its claims of 200Mb...... Do virgin really believe their own bile they spew up or are they hoping to get on Britains Got Talent with the worst comedy act ever seen?

Its all well and good giving a handfull of people this type of speed, making it an VIABLE and workable option for the whole customer base is something else entirely.

As to daily traffic capping on 50Mb .... Its only a matter of time before that happens, 10 and 20Mb originally wasnt affected, that changed quick enough.
Posted by CoolGuy26 over 8 years ago
Screw faster download speeds, nobody bloody needs them!

What we need is for VM to start getting rid of STM first before they even think about giving us a better download speed. IMO, 50Mbit is enough. Another thing they really need to do is give us faster upload speed, its god damn ridiculous!
Posted by imbsuk over 8 years ago
presumably with 0.384 upstream and able to max for 30 secs before cap
Posted by dan221081 over 8 years ago
How about they get their "brand new network" to cope with the current demand first so they arent throttling all the time making every one of their users angry by failing to provide a service that they are paying for before offering a faster service which is likely to have even tighter bandwidth restrictions.

They need to get their house in order before trying to expand and offer services they clearly dont have the bandwidth for / dont want to part with.
Posted by SFD1968_Derby over 8 years ago
Never mind about spending money on getting to incredible speeds, how about adding to the existing network??
I live in a suburb of Derby, and half of the suburb has cable (admittedly laid by VM's previous incarnations), and half doesn't. I live in the half that doesn't and would love to be able to have the choice.

Every time we've asked Virgin (or their predecessors) if they're likely to expand the network (seeing as a lot of their infrastructure is already in place right up to the entrance of our cul-de-sac!), the only answer we get is "give us a call in 6 months!"
Posted by SFD1968_Derby over 8 years ago
Further to my above comment....

If they can't even be bothered to expand the network to add potential customers, then I really wonder what their business model is...
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
ashford must be a few generations ahead of some other areas, VM have areas that cant even get digital tv and any form of broadband.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^ Yep thats not the only place in kent that suffers either.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
'Suffers' with being a few generations ahead of some other areas?

Ashford isn't really but it was the first area on the ex-ntl to have analogue switched off which helps, apart from that it's just a decent EuroDOCSIS build network.
Posted by RepairExpert over 8 years ago
Agree with Carpetburn; what's the point of having 200Mb connection if they are going to throttle or cap you after the first few Gb you download.
No way could they allow you truly unlimited capacity at those speeds unless they start charging you £100+ a month. Just my opinion and experience of Virgin over many years.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Way more than £100 for unlimited, Repair.

I'm strongly sceptical of the business case for 50MBit to the home (and I'd never depend on cable broadband for a primary business connection), let along 200MBit.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Very simplistic view of things Mr Falcon, viability depends on a lot of things. I have 50Mbit, my bandwidth usage hasn't increased to speak of.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
If you're thinking of upgrade costs, in the case of Virgin you're talking less than 20 GBP per home passed for DOCSIS 3 with another 80GBP on CPE, most of which is paid for by the 50GBP install / activation fee the rest the 12 month contract.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"I have 50Mbit, my bandwidth usage hasn't increased to speak of."

The mind boggles what the point was in you taking that service then??
Posted by olisun over 8 years ago
lol.. when somebody takes up the 50 meg product and makes full use of it, the person is branded a pirate and when somebody takes up the 50 meg product and does not make full use of it, that person is being asked why does he need that much speed for if he is not going to make full use of it...

:-)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixi - And what if VM had a headline speed of 10MBit, but had focused heavily on useability, for example? I'd argue very strongly that *especially* with cable broadband they could have much greater market penetration.

olisun - Pretty much my point.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"lol.. when somebody takes up the 50 meg product and makes full use of it, the person is branded a pirate and when somebody takes up the 50 meg product and does not make full use of it, that person is being asked why does he need that much speed for if he is not going to make full use of it..."
Only idiots brand people pirates for heavily using their connection, also if we follow your logic, everyone is a pirate or they wouldnt want faster speeds no matter which network they use, following on....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
All those in the country from your statement should be happy with 512k and even with an upgrade in speed not use their connection for more bandwidth intensive things. Oh and everyone that were say once a 1Mb customer and upgraded to 8Mb and use their connection more are also pirates..... My point remains what is the point in taking a faster service if you dont need or use the extra speed.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I could take Virgins 50Mb service tomorrow, i wouldnt though because of many reasons, including not being able to use the connection to its full speed at times I WANT it.... If Dixis bandwidth usage hasnt increased then it stands to reason them taking 50Mb is of no benefit... Maybe he likes to pay more and at the end of the day get the same as before in return, who knows (shrug)
Posted by GMAN99 over 8 years ago
What home router could do 200Mb anyway?

No point in having 200Mb when there's only one PC connected direct to the modem!
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
I don't pay for it Carpet my employer does, and I upgraded because the DOCSIS 1 network was oversubscribed in my area, and because I want the speed there for if/when I need it. It's of benefit as I can do what I did before faster. Just because I can now download xTB/month more doesn't mean I'm going to.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn - Unsure why you're discussing useability given that BT and CPW/Tiscali are both massively shaped and/or capped and have the two highest market shares. Moral of story, people don't care about usability they care about price and/or headline speed.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
quite cheap, actually....
http://www.nextag.co.uk/gigabit-switch/zzukzB1z42--compare-html

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
the modem would be supplied from the cable co, the only ones you can 'buy' are for the american market...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"I don't pay for it Carpet my employer does, and I upgraded because the DOCSIS 1 network was oversubscribed in my area, and because I want the speed there for if/when I need it. It's of benefit as I can do what I did before faster. Just because I can now download xTB/month more doesn't mean I'm going to."

So from this i take it we now agree their daily caps and over subbed areas are pathetic?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
er, no...
It is the companies that decided to use price / headline speed a long time ago, for the clueless people to understand better... Now they do not want to change this charging model to something more effective based on capacity or usage, like gas or elec has always been....

It is the greedy downloaders wanting stuff for almost nothing that started this mess.. now the companies are running scared...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
and dixi lives outside UK, main reason he gets his stuff!
Posted by GMAN99 over 8 years ago
@comnut - What?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixi - People /do/ care about quality. The problem is that you can't get it in the current market. If NTL had chosen to offer that, it would immedately have set them aside from the faster/cheaper/crapper race of ADSL and made them...well...they'd not be bleeding as they are now.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn, much to my chagrin people don't really care about quality that's why UK BB is so dominated by lowest common denominator products and always has been.

VM aren't losing anything, just close to saturating their market. comnut I don't live outside the UK. Rather hard to get Virgin Media cable outside the country.

Carpet - No we don't agree, I think they can do better but 'pathetic' is a tad strong. Not fixing things in a timely fashion is pathetic but congestion happens.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpet - No we don't agree, I think they can do better but 'pathetic' is a tad strong."

Sorry maybe pathetic was a bit strong how about in terms of speed 24/7 the other products below the 50Mb service are poor... £30 a month as an example for 20Mb... http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=2 that can be capped daily i wouldnt call good value.... Id pay £50 for their 50Mb service but i just dont see it being substainably "Unlimited" If slower speed services are subject to daily restrictions its only a matter of time until their 50Mb is also
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I hate to sound cynical but it seems to me that once Virgin have enough punters paying £50 for 50Mb broadband that will be when they introduce the restrictions to it and laugh all the way to the bank as they will have you tied in for 12 months.
If their other services were not subject to daily limits I would give their 50Mb a go as Virgins speed in my road is pretty good (everyone I have spoken to in my street gets the full speed or very close to it).......
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
As it is though with an axe dangling over my head that at anytime they can and lets be honest ARE VERY LIKELY to impose some type of frustrating limitation on a service that costs £50, I simply can not justify switching or even considering them. I really don’t mind paying for a service but it has to be to a standard I want, I currently pay £25 a month to UKonline, which is one of the most expensive LLU ADSL2+ options in the UK.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Its had some issues but things could be a lot worse, the connection runs at my lines 18Mb 24/7 no real issues in that regard and no worrying about what time I wish to download something large (like the RC release of Win 7 for free from MS a few days ago) I couldn’t do the same with some Virgin services, and it would cost me more per month for the same, similar or faster speeds.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixi, I'd very strongly argue that ADSL ISP's in the UK have no choice in their pricing, because of the pricing model which BT forced onto them, and which ADSL is now mired in.

Carpet - No, any material change in the service is justification for ceaseing the contract. People are not NEARLY aggressive enough in enforcing their rights.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpet - No, any material change in the service is justification for ceaseing the contract. People are not NEARLY aggressive enough in enforcing their rights."
This is one of the few occasions we both agree again (god thats getting a bad habbit now LOL ;) ) Technically if they alter the service in any way the 12 month or whatever contract is basically scrap... The problem of course is the billion hours you spend on hold arguing with the idiots about it before they finally cave in and set you free for changing their terms of service.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I also agree with you about BTs set pricing, its not good, it leads to ISPs all trying to beat each other on price and that normally leads to a service that suffers. Which is another reason i changed to LLU, i got sick of a service being great, full speed one month and the next they decide to change it and throttle you to death. The same will happen with Virgins 50Mb service eventually but for different reasons (IE Virgins GREED).
Posted by hy777 over 8 years ago
These speeds are great for online gaming
Posted by xb0xguru over 8 years ago
@hy777

You'll get the same online gaming speeds with a 10MB Connection from VM than you would a 200MB.

Unfortunately this is where the advertising needs to be clarified. It's not FASTER broadband, it's increased bandwidth and yes, there is a difference!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Carpet - Oh no, you don't TALK to them. You send a letter recorded delivery to the business's registered address informing them of the cancelation.

hy777 - lol. The majority of games will work fine across 512KBit, let alone anything else (heck, most will be fine across ISDN). Latency and packet loss are the bugbears of gaming...
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 8 years ago
What ISPs should be doing is increasing network capacity so they don't have to Traffic manage increasing the speed is just bonkers.
Anyway VM is a bunch of P.I. Stakers. Anyway at least with BT I can have a connection abroad included in my subs which means If staying in a hotel I would no be ripped off in roaming charges....
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 8 years ago
Why get tied in to a contract and let them laugh all the way to the bank. The solution is like what I did... Sign in a dodgy name and when they send the bailiffs you can laugh when you say they don't live here....
Posted by georgethackray over 8 years ago
Fusen said earlier "Come on, who other than pirates needs this sort of connection? "

My University instructor once said to me "Why on earth did you pay for 640KB of RAM, who needs more that 256KB", a musician friend once said "There's no point in me paying an extra £20 for a 6GB hard drive, I'll never need that much space". It's called Progress Fusen - embrace it, you'll be glad you did!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
george - I think you mean "If we build it, they will come". Except there is no compelling app here, it's a *tradeoff* between speed and reliability/useability, not progress.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpet - Oh no, you don't TALK to them. You send a letter recorded delivery to the business's registered address informing them of the cancelation."
LOL i had to go further than that. When i was with Pipex and finally got rid of them they still held my personal details, which i asked be deleted (didnt want their snail mail or email spam any longer either). They wouldnt delete the account (I could log in for near on 6 months after leaving). At times (TOTALLY RANDOMLY i might add) they tried to continue to bill me some months.....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Letters from my solicitor followed with some information for the clueless fools about the Data Protection Act and attempting to charge my credit card when i had left and had no contract could be deemed fraud.... A week later details got deleted from their systems and i had a letter from them stating how sory (STUPID) they were. Thank god the clueless fools realised and after that stopped their brain dead behaviour.... As i sit here now i feel for every Tiscali OWNED customer especially now the shambolic sale has taken place and attempts to leave will be met with ignorance
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Why get tied in to a contract and let them laugh all the way to the bank. The solution is like what I did... Sign in a dodgy name and when they send the bailiffs you can laugh when you say they don't live here...."
Anyone with a legal clue dont do this. You can cause yourself even more trouble, not to mention its pure brain dead as you will have Virgin OWNED equipment in your household which they will be able to prove with documentation and a quick check at the cabinet to prove you are connected and using it.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Any court in the land would allow them to as you put it... Send in the baliffs for collection, after it will be back to court complete with evidence collected by the equipment that you have been using the service and you will have to pay up for months you have used it.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
All that without even going into the legal things that may happen if at any stage you are found to have signed a contract with a known false name (of course that bit may not be likely, but do you want a Criminal record just for joining a brain dead ISP)?
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 8 years ago
Well I did hope that readers didn't want to be bored with what happened.

I joined VM April 2007 12 month contract wanted to leave 1 Dec 2008 12month contract served equipement was returned to the shop in town though they didn't like that. The snag well.

Jan 2008 I phoned to have services reduced in order to cut costs as I could not afford it they kindly reduced the cost DIDNT TELL ME THAT IT WAS A NEW CONTRACT. Untill december the exact words were that the new price incepted a new contract and I would be liable for the outstanding contract... Bulls**t I never signed a new contract..
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 8 years ago
Apparrently BT is doing a similar sneaky move if you don't let them know you wish to migrate at the end of contract they do continuous contract and then try leaving... same problem... Harry Enfield had a one liner during the 80s "What mugs we are" as far as the criminal record goes I am working on a F***ing DVD.
Posted by easyTree over 8 years ago
Carpetburn said: "...They [Pipex] wouldnt delete the account (I could log in for near on 6 months after leaving). At times (TOTALLY RANDOMLY i might add) they tried to continue to bill me some months.....

They sent me a bill FIVE YEARS after I stopped being a customer! > http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=235341&cid=19196647
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"They sent me a bill FIVE YEARS after I stopped being a customer! > http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=235341&cid=19196647"

Oh christ i hope that doesnt happen to me. They had better of deleted all my info see i dont start getting calls from the new Talk Talk idiots.
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