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Virgin Media trials broadband over electricity poles in Wales
Tuesday 27 July 2010 10:13:06 by John Hunt

Virgin Media have announced today that the Welsh village of Crumlin, Caerphilly will be the first in the UK to receive broadband delivered using electricity poles. Virgin have signed an agreement with Surf Telecoms, a utility telecoms infrastructure provider owned by Western Power Distribution to install broadband to the area. The trial starting next month will offer customers both 50meg broadband and Virgin Media's TV service, with the trial expected to run into 2011.

"We're already bringing broadband speeds of up to 50Mb and, soon 100Mb, to over half of all UK homes and are pushing the boundaries to ensure that homes right across the UK benefit from ultrafast broadband. Working in partnership with companies like Surf Telecoms, we can more rapidly and efficiently expand the reach of fibre optic networks to towns, villages and communities right across the UK."

Jon James, (executive director of broadband) Virgin Media

This trial is part of Virgin Media's plans to extend its network to cover more homes. 500,000 new-build properties are expected to be covered by the company and it believes that trials of this kind, and a similar overhead trial using telegraph poles in Woolhampton, Berkshire, can help it reach existing areas which lack next-generation broadband.


Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
Very sensible VM. It might also scare BT into some action. Not that BT can benefit from borrowing other people's poles but the idea that VM might finally break out of its current strongholds should be motivational :)
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 7 years ago
Great, and agree with first post, although not in that part of wales, its good see VM begin to widen its service, and you never know it might move Bt shareholders to invest in their coverage rather than gold stock. Please come Newtown Powys VIRGIN MEDIA.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Where don't BT have coverage, the unprofitable final third?
Posted by New_Londoner over 7 years ago
Interesting, will VM be opening its own ducts etc for others to foster greater coverage and competition?
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
so is this swinging coax off power poles ?
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@Herdwick - I assume so. For VM that opens up new areas but for BT it seems largely irrelevant. They already have cables going everywhere they want them. I suppose it might be useful in areas where their own poles are full or decrepit and/or where ducts are full or collapsed.

But it's still a different kettle of fish. VM are branching out into new territory - BT are only upgrading what they already have.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
(edit)Actually I'd have thought fibre from power poles. If they are clever perhaps they can tap the power cables to supply their cabinets.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
What power cables/poles are we talking about here, is it a different set-up in Wales? All of our power in our area is underground cabling fed from the grid by the Pylons, I suspect its the same for most people, but not Wales?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Either way its good news IMO, Not a fan of Virgin or BT, but with regards to new ideas in deploying service Virgin do seem to be the people taking things more seriously (A few month back was there not a story about them doing a trial or considering using phone poles???) and now this. If guess if it works well and is cost effective the old excuse Virgin dont expand will have to change.
Posted by tobykim over 7 years ago
The title should read trials broadband in South Wales, it's like living on the moon in North Wales nobody wants to trial anything
Posted by SheepFarmer over 7 years ago
@GMAN99 quite a lot of rural areas have their electricity served on poles. We don't have any underground wires in our village. Both telephone and electricity comes in overhead.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Gotya.. thanks for the clarification.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@tobykim:What about sheep trials?

Posted by otester over 7 years ago

So they spend all their money on their network infrastructure just so some other company (leech) can come in and benefit?

Sounds like the current (goverment created) situation with BT...
Posted by docki over 7 years ago
This has to be the first thread I have even seen on TBB which is all positive. And in this case rightly so!. VM seem to have the cahootas now and let's hope it all rolls out!
Posted by Jayare over 7 years ago
Don't bother getting too excited. In Southampton, NTL destroyed our pavements with their trenches years ago. Yet on enquiring, I still get the message: 'You're not in a fibre optic area, but can still get our brilliant broadband down your phone line'. So if VM can't even be bothered to stuff a cable down one of their own ducts, what hope is there
Posted by zebedeeeeee over 7 years ago
Now I know why EU expansion allowed the Eastern Bloc to join and the Liebour Governement allowed a mass influx of workers.

They are going to plant a Pole every 10M and string the cables though specially fitted nose rings. All the consuumer will need to do is feed and water 10 poles every day. If they forget, one might collapse and their connection will go down.

Posted by euphoriabuzz over 7 years ago
Would be nice across Brecon Beacons area as some place only have dial up speed still.
Posted by kenster over 7 years ago
Excuse my ignorance and naivete, but is it theoretically possible to transmit and receive data on existing power lines?
Posted by michaels_perry over 7 years ago
Two main comments. Most of the UK is fed by overhead power and telephone outside of the urban areas. It is not exclusive to Wales!
If VM think they supply 50% of UK homes, their data is different from that of OfCom!
Using fibre on poles is the only sensible, and cheapest, way of providing decent digital communications in non-urban areas, especially as the pole already exist.
Posted by alexdow over 7 years ago
To go further, why not involved the National Grid Pylons, to provide a high lebel of high capacity Fibre Optic connection quickly over most of the UK, including the relatively local 10KV poles, from which ISPs etc could then spread out at the more local level. whether this be via existing BT (Rural) Exchanges, ducts etc or not.

The UK could then have extremely wide-spread availability, thinking of the wide-ranging locations of the NG Pylons etc, from Land's End to John o' Groats.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Many plyons have fibre optic wrapped round the earth wire by Energis, now C&W, some years ago. Used for TV transmission amongst other things.

Note National Grid does not cover the whole country, the local areas take power from NG and then have their own distribution.

There is fibre to virtually every BT exchange. But, again, fibre does not automatically mean internet.
Posted by NetGuy over 7 years ago
Since Energis put fibre (with some special motorized cart which went along the earth cable between pylons (the single cable at the top) while feeding out fibre via a rotating arm to cause the fibre to spiral around the outside of the earthing cable, VM could use something similar.

Energis was offering indirect access phone service in 1995/1996 from memory (I used them, as they were cheaper than Mercury, from memory), so the idea of fibre from pylon to pylon isn't new.

Of course, VM might use some other method.
Posted by NetGuy over 7 years ago
Sorry, had not spotted the previous post.
Surprised to see Energis name linked to C+W, given they were rivals way back when... Never knew about them distributing TV, just used them for voice calls myself.
Posted by MrFell over 7 years ago
Sounds like a good idea to me - get it while you can !
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Yeah that's right I remember some experiments in this area in the past like you say wrapping fibre around existing cables from pylon to pylon and I also believe the experimented with Ethernet over Power? Same concept as homeplugs but on a much larger scale (out on the grid into your home), not sure what happened with the latter.
Posted by btodd over 7 years ago
Cable broadband suppliers leading with innovation again :)
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
btodd/CB - Who invented blown fibre?
Posted by btodd over 7 years ago
I do not know somerset. Why do you ask?
Posted by MarkHampshire over 7 years ago
Out of interest - how do electricity companies manage to supply ~ 240v to every property regardless of distance to the sub-station, is this done with "repeater" boosters every x yards?
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
The voltage is actually 230V +10% -6% and the cables are sized to provide this.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Its quite possibly the saddest thing I've seen coming back as another persona even creating his own background story, hopefully its a permy ban this time. It won't be long before you blow your top again tho :)

Anyway, its great news for Wales not sure why its just new builds though I'm sure other older existing properties would be interested.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Its quite possibly the saddest thing I've seen coming back as another persona"

Nah the saddest thing is being dim enough to think that, i always suspected from your posts you were not the sharpest plastic knife in the hamper, you didnt need to confirm it for the whole of tbb though.

quote"hopefully its a permy ban this time"

I was banned from the forum not the comments, theres a shocker you being wrong about something AGAIN.... Best go play with the rats and lightning DOH!
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Hey I don't know the extent of your bans, as you started posted under btodd I assumed you've been banned here as well.

Welcome back... :)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
No you obvioulsy do not know the extent of my ban or the reason. I find it quite ironic though the reason given to me by billford was trolling because the likes of you and billford can not take the heat in a debate.

Even more ironic that you are still allowed to post in the forums and here even though you continue to troll here stating i post under a different name in multiple news stories. Must be a case of trolling is ok if you are an old mans favourite BT defenders list.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Even more ironic how you and others continue to bash other companies which are not BT and are allowed to get away with it while if i or other regulars dare say anything against BT cowards like billford and some other staff with possible links to BT take action.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
More irony that in the day or so i didnt bother to post here you have been straight in on a BT news story attacking Virgin for the countries appalling ranking with regards to speed, even though the story is nothing at all to do with Virgin.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
I dont need to post under other names to show the blatant inconsistancy in how rules are enforced at this place.... FANBOYS like you do nothing but attack LLUs, attack Virgin and talk nonsense, accussing people of being other users and posting under other names, and its quite obvious why you get away with it. because you defend the cack which is called BT (AND NO I DONT CARE IF THEY BAN ME FROM COMMENTS ALSO, THAT WILL SHOW JUST LIKE MY FORUM BAN I AM RIGHT, ESPECIALLY IF THEY DONT BAN YOU FOR YOU VIRGIN ATTACKING AND ACCUSATIONS TOWARDS ME ALSO) Now.. Tooddle OFF.
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