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Virgin Media exploring the launch of a public Wi-Fi network
Tuesday 23 November 2010 10:32:53 by John Hunt

Virgin Media is "actively exploring" a plan to roll out a wireless network to rival BT Openzone and The Cloud with tens of thousands of fast Wi-Fi access points around the country. The company would place wireless routers in secure public locations and connect them to the green cabinets used to power their network.

Users could expect 5Mbps speeds from the network, a bit slower than BT Openzone's 8Mbps. They would not be looking to provide blanket coverage but instead offer services where there is a demand. One of the reasons for this is that their network doesn't always offer blanket coverage of the Cities and towns they are in.

"We have been inspired by what Cablevision has been able to do in New York and are actively exploring the possibility of creating a similar network here. It takes the sheer power of the cable broadband network and puts it where people need it.

Previous attempts were to fulfil a social objective. This is to solve a real problem. Steve Jobs [chief executive of Apple] has created phenomenal demand, and we've got the best fibre [optic] network in the country that could help meet it. This isn't about building broad coverage, it's about giving you fast, predictable, access where you need it."

Kevin Baughan, (Director of advanced technology) Virgin Media

Along a similar vein as BT's customers, Virgin would likely offer free access to home broadband and also Virgin Mobile customers whilst others could sign up to a pay-as-you-go or subscription service.

Wireless coverage is always on the rise, with BT recently boasting over 2 million Wi-Fi hotspots, although the vast majority of these are shared with a user's broadband connection. London already has plans to deploy a city-wide wireless network in time for the 2012 Olympic games but general coverage of such networks tends to leave some holes. Any further padding available through other networks such as Virgin to fill in existing holes would be beneficial, although the ability to roam on to these networks would probably be seen as the greatest benefit of new networks.

Comments

Posted by mabibby over 6 years ago
"Users could expect 5Mbps"

Okay... so applying the typical 90% reduction rule as there is on every other Virgin connection that's a nice throughput of 512Kbs!

Lovely... I'll stick to 3G thanks :)
Posted by EnglishRob over 6 years ago
I'm all for some free wifi. I wonder if eventually they might do something similar to what BT do with Fon?

(Or even better, with these new combined router/modems, have a wifi hotspot in there that doesn't use any of your bandwidth).
Posted by EnglishRob over 6 years ago
Oh and Mabibby, I'm on Virgin 20Mbit here, works flawlessly, get 20Mbit just about all the time, apart from the very rate occasion I go over the limits during peak time. :-)
Posted by meldrew over 6 years ago
"Along a similar vain....." Spelling police alert!!
Posted by djfunkdup over 6 years ago
mabibby what are you talking about fool.?.;)like englishrob,i'm also with virgin media and always get my full speed....back to the subject in hand,good news vm glad you are expanding into wifi,i'm sure it will help many to get connected at a decent wifi speed .;)
Posted by jbesant over 6 years ago
@mabibby I'm on 50Mb and reliably always get this. It's the one reason I stay with Virgin. Recently I have travelled a bit more and have thought of switching to get the wireless access that BT offer but giving up a reliable broadband connection just isn't worth it when I can get by through tethering my laptop to my mobile and using it's 3G connection. If Virgin gave this service free then I'd happily be locked in for another year ;-)
Posted by lasse1234 over 6 years ago
In Tokyo have had Wimax since last summer 40Mb..
rolling out mobile 75 mbit soon.

Wifi is old and has limited reach so why bother?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Surely this particular horse bolted ages ago? There are over 2 million hotspots in the UK already, rather late to be thinking about entering the market?
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