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?