Virgin Media have announced that they are to start a trial this month with four companies in Old Street, East London, to test 1.5Gbps broadband over the same cable network they use to deliver broadband to residential customers. The connections will offer customers super-fast broadband which is fifteen times faster than the current 100meg broadband that Virgin can deliver. The UK average broadband speed at the end of last year was reported by Ofcom as 6.2Mbps, but this trial will see the companies connected receive a connection 242 times faster. The upload speed of the connection will be 150Mbps.
"Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously. Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time, ensuring Virgin Media business and residential customers continue to enjoy world-class broadband."Jon James, (Executive Director of Broadband) Virgin Media
This test by Virgin is a real step forward into next-generation broadband and goes to show the future-proof capabilities of their cable broadband network using DOCSIS 3.0. They report that it will be the worlds fastest cable broadband connection when live. This could scare BT who will be aware that they will only be able to match these speeds from Virgin through upgrades to their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments. New fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installs which BT are using for the majority of their 'next-generation' connections are generally limited to around 100Mbps but have been able to attain speeds of 500Mbps in trials by Ericsson, but this required bonding of 6 telephone lines together. Full fibre-to-the-home will be the only way to really compete with faster connections.