Broadband News

Virgin Media trial broadband delivery via telegraph poles

Virgin Media have today announced that they are going to conduct a trial to deliver 50meg broadband to homes in a village in Berkshire by a deployment over telegraph poles. Homes in Woolhampton will be directly connected to Virgin's fibre optic network in the 6-month trial that will offer them access to Virgin's standard TV offerings with access to their 50meg broadband product.

"This unique trial will allow us to understand the possibilities of aerial deployment and may provide an exciting new way to extend next generation broadband services. With everything from BBC iPlayer to YouTube increasingly demanding reliable ultrafast broadband speeds, we're keen to ensure that all communities, in towns, cities and villages right across the UK, stand to benefit."

Neil Berkett, (CEO) Virgin Media

Virgin have plans to extend their network which currently passes 12.6 million homes to a further 500,000, and sees that this technology may be one way to achieve this. Indeed, it believes around a million homes in the UK could benefit from this technology, and many rural areas could get next-generation access (NGA) when combined with fibre through underground ducts. With talk of opening up BT ducts to competition, there is scope that this could allow other networks to expand cheaply. This Virgin trial builds on the back of a trial in Cornwall in 2009 which saw fibre delivered to BT's local street cabinets.

Comments

Very interesting! Who's poles though?

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

Hey Virgin, we got lotsa poles round here, come and do a bit of Lancashire rural fibre if the Woolhampton one works eh? Doesn't look like BT are gonna do it. Go Virgin Go. You obviously have moral fibre too.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 7 years ago

Ermmm I don't think it will be fibre, it will be coax I'm sure.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

Yep, extension of CATV network.

No idea what you're talking about wrt moral fibre though, they are trying to widen their reach due to increasing levels of high-end competition in existing areas, especially if/when rules on aerial deployment are changed. They'll be getting their backsides handed to them by FTTP in urban conurbations.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

Isn't this how much of cable is delivered in the USA? I'm sure I recall hearing tale a while ago that the original amplifiers in cabinets overheated because they were actually designed to go onto poles.

  • dubpixel
  • over 7 years ago

You are absolutely correct sir. Most cable networks in North America, Asia, etc, are delivered aerially. The kit is designed to be mounted on poles and pedestals.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

Excellent idea, if BT want to use your ducts, expand and remove ducts from thee equation LOL Genius business move, let BT have your ducts while you also use theirs and at the same time go into areas without laying new ducting :) Very smart thinking from Virgin. Talk about playing a fool at his own game hehe

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

They can't move into new areas without laying ducting, they will also need ducting to the cab.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

This is just simply Sub-Loop Unbundling. It is not unique it's just Virgin playing with FTTC (VDSD2+).

  • timmay
  • over 7 years ago

* VDSL2

  • timmay
  • over 7 years ago

quote"They can't move into new areas without laying ducting, they will also need ducting to the cab."

What are you talking about they are all going to share ducts, they will use BTs duct and then the rest of the way have cable OVER poles.... No new duct needed, most they need will be a cabinet haha

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

I thought a lot of Poles had gone back home now that we were in recession :)

  • AndrueC
  • over 7 years ago

But more seriously - can they really call it 'technology' just because they are hanging a cable in the air rather than underground?

  • AndrueC
  • over 7 years ago

Sure CB that's if they agree to open up their own ducts of course.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

Technology as in stringing fibre from overheards without the weight of the protection added so that the fibre does not break in a strong wind, as in running fibre through tubes is fairly recent.

Looks like this will be fibre to a cabinet that is Virgins own cabinet, and then probably the usual coax to the home.

If it was CATV over pure FTTH then one would expect a launch with a lot more noise around it.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 7 years ago

What goes around, comes around...
What a curious idea: It is some 30 or 40 years since the overhead telephone line to this farm was replaced by an underground cable, because running underground offered better protection to the cable and so a more reliable service. The underground cable takes a longer route, along the road side and down a drive, whereas the overhead used to cut across a couple of fields and so was shorter.

  • Davidhs
  • over 7 years ago

I'm already waiting for the angry tenants appearing the paper stopping unsightly poles being erected outside their homes :)

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

I would be amongst the whiners then. Cabinets don't bother me because we already have them but my estate doesn't have any overhead cables at all. I would definitely object if someone suddenly wanted to drape cables everywhere.

  • AndrueC
  • over 7 years ago

It's not VDSL timmay it's extension of the VM CATV network.

Carpet - Much as I know how enthusiastic you are about the idea of someone sticking it to 'the man' / BT they aren't using BT's ductings VM have fibre running through that village.

What's this about pole mounted fibre being 'recent'? It's been about for over 20 years.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

As a secondary thing the Government is mooting changing the planning rules regarding use of aerial cabling. It won't be something unique to Virgin having aerial cabling if the rules are changed it'll be likely that others will offer FTTH/P over the same thing.

Virgin need to expand due to their current areas becoming more competitive. Once ducts are opened Telefonica, Sky, et al will be considering FTTP, simply superior to the HFC Virgin are building here.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

Imagines a load of eastern European workers holding up cables.

  • Oddball
  • over 7 years ago

I'm pretty sure it's no unique. VM's cable network in Coventry when it first started in the 1980's back when it was known as Coventry Cable Television used BT's poles. They replaced your existing phone line with a dual core line, one for your existing telephone line and a secondary line that carried the analogue t.v. signals, both were and are copper core. You could see from the road which homes had cable as their phone line was much thicker.

Most homes that were early adopters of CATV would still have this line coming into their homes as well as their new underground fibre optic lines.

  • RichieBaby
  • over 7 years ago

I wonder if the fibre could survive the lateral stress over longer distances than telegraph poles, pylons for example?
This could really start driving competition and expansion, I wonder if the Govt may do more harm than good with 50p? If I thought I could get Govt money I wouldn't be rushing to get my FTTH/CATV out.

  • dch3dwj
  • over 7 years ago

"I would be amongst the whiners then."

Success depends of these schemes depends on how NIMBY people are about it. However, a guy from BT told me over half there network is overhead so perhaps the number of new poles wouldn't be that many.

  • dch3dwj
  • over 7 years ago

@dch3dwj going back at least 10yrs there was a project looking into twisting fibre around the pylon to pylon cables and also broadband over the mains, not sure what happened to either

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

BT did a load of testing re broadband through the mains and its works but apparently could interfere a lot of old electrical (pre 1980s) equipment where the signal wouldn't be supressed.

I know Scottish power is keen of using its network for delivering broadband...

  • dch3dwj
  • over 7 years ago

"twisting fibre around the pylon to pylon cables"

Fibre on the 400kV grid begat Energis, which led to Freeserve, and so on.

"broadband over the mains, not sure what happened to either "

Keith Maclean (SSE Telecom) interview at ISPreview, and not much else.

The well known US overhead FTTP service is Verizon FIOS.

  • c_j_
  • over 7 years ago

Yep those are em c_j cheers

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

They still have analogue cable with many abandoned roadside cabinets in Slough. Why don't they upgrade those to digital first ?

  • redserpent
  • over 7 years ago

finally someone coming to senses and using poles.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

@Dixinormous Yes sorry it looks like this time when VM said fibre they actually meant fibre. That's got to be a first!

This is a silly idea as maintenance will cost more in the future and it will not be as reliable as underground cables.

Fibre in the ground could well last 100+ years. Above ground 10 maybe 30 years before they need major repairs or moving underground.

  • timmay
  • over 7 years ago

It's not fibre - it's copper. The broadband via telegraph poles uses VDSL2 technology as reported on other sites.

  • nmg196
  • over 7 years ago

It's not VDSL2 - there would be absolutely no need to do a trial on 'aerial' deployment of VDSL2. It is a CATV build.

Virgin are doing a VDSL2 trial in Cornwall, this isn't it.

timmay - no, not FTTP/H, HFC.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

The [url=http://pressoffice.virginmedia.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205406&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1401380&highlight=]press release[/url] is is very poorly worded!

"By connecting homes directly to Virgin Media's fibre optic network..."

I think we are all getting confused with previous trials in Higher Pill, Saltash and Hatt which were FTTC with VDSL2. [url=http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/virgin-test-video-over-copper/2009-10-09]link[/url]

  • timmay
  • over 7 years ago

I've often wondered why Sky haven't put more effort into unbundling rural/semi-rural exchanges. They already must have a higher uptake of TV in these areas since cable doesn't to there and Freeview can be flakey. I would imagine they could steal quite a proportion of BB users in these areas. This is assuming they actually make money off the broadband and don't just offer it to compete with Virgin. If that's the case maybe this news kick them into more unbundling if suddenly there's competition from Virgin in such areas.

  • absent
  • over 7 years ago

It's been reported elsewhere that this will be a FTTH deployment, why use HFC when it will cost almpost the same to fully deploy fibre and not have the HFC constraints. As Virgin haven't specifically stated what cabling they're using, for anyone to to state they know for sure is premature.

  • njalondon
  • over 7 years ago

^ Very much doubt it as they don't have kit in the cab's to provide FTTH nor will they have the fibre capacity back to the POP to cope, also why would they deploy FTTH and limit it to 50Mb? No sense at all. I think the comments so far are spot on it will be a normal Virgin delivery but aerial instead of underground. Virgin could of course provide FTTH but I don't think this is it. URL for "reported elsewhere" would help.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

In Cornwall Virgin used VDSL2, they have cabs covering the older part of town, I doubt that Woolhampton will be any different. You have no proof as Virgin haven't been explicit in their technology choice, so all you're doing is guessing. Unless you can point me to anything that proves your point.

  • njalondon
  • over 7 years ago

Have to admit my instincts would be either vdsl2 or ftth - depending on what they are aiming to "prove" - perhaps they might try out both?

Given where the market in general (and Virgin in particular with its existing VDSL2 trials) has got to now, I cannot personally see the point in Virgin doing large-ish scale HFC rollouts.

In answer to GMAN's "why limit it to 50Mb", I would reply that this would be because (a) they are trialling things and (b) this is the current top-whack for Virgin.

  • wirelesspacman
  • over 7 years ago

^

Another reason is if they put FTTH in it would give them time for getting the backhaul fixed.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

@njalondon - everyone is guessing as there's little to go on. You did say you had a news source stating FTTH tho?

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

"an exciting new way to extend next generation broadband services"

Although "extend" sounds to me like more of the same. Like Andrew says I'm sure they'd be lighting more fireworks is this was a true fibre service.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

Who cares its 50Mb, hardly any home user in the country sees that unless with Virgin.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

It's nice to carpet speaking possitively about VM for a change it was only a couple of months ago he was poking fun at the CEO's surname Neil berkett (Berk)..one thing that does spring to mind with fttc is in areas like south yorkshire where we are getting digital region and BT's fttc products now with the above news vm filling in the areas where there current network ends ,does this mean we'll have 3 cabs alongside the old BT copper boxes ..cont

  • 2doorsbob
  • over 7 years ago

It does seem to me tobe a total waste of time and money as 1 cab with fibre vdsl2+/adsl2+ kit in it could look after all isp's ..it just needs ofcom to organise it (lol)..piss up in a brewery springs to mind ..

  • 2doorsbob
  • over 7 years ago

quote"It's nice to carpet speaking possitively about VM for a change it was only a couple of months ago he was poking fun at the CEO's surname Neil berkett (Berk)."

That was not me.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

"as 1 cab with fibre vdsl2+/adsl2+ kit in it could look after all isp's"

That is BT's deliberate intention with FTTC - to take control back from all of the local loop unbundlers by "fixing" the network so that it cannot (economically) be unbundled.

  • wirelesspacman
  • over 7 years ago

@ Gman http://www.fiberevolution.com/2010/03/friday-news-roundup.html

  • njalondon
  • over 7 years ago

string CATV coax on poles and nailing it to walls is pretty standard technology, look around a typical Portuguese holiday resort etc.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

50Mb is 50Mb though Herdwick, i dont care if they provide that to people over moldy pipcleaners as long as its still 50Mb its faster than anything others have to offer to the masses.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

wirelessspaceman - SLU continues to be an option, it has just never been viewed as a viable by OLOs with the exception of SYDR. They have not considered themselves likely to make their money back.

Openreach did get a regulatory concession (which is nothing to do with unbundling) however they appear to not be using it in most cases.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

I just read the Samknows info, and the press release they cite, it doesn't mention FTTH it refers to 'fibre optic' in the same manner as the cable network.

I've asked a contact at Virgin to clarify.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

I know SLU remains a "technical" option - just rarely likely to be an economic one in my view

  • wirelesspacman
  • over 7 years ago

It never has been. What do you suggest BT do, remove some PCPs and rationalise them so that OLOs can reach a wider group of people with each SLU? The network wasn't built and PCP placement wasn't decided with the specific intention of making it uneconomical to unbundle at cabinet level I don't think.

Pricing on SLU is regulated by Ofcom same as LLU. How do you suggest BT arrange to offer the option to unbundle FTTC?

It's going to get much more economical once operators can place fibre into BT's access network - BT are hardly placing further obstacles.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

Confirmed btw - it's FTTH. Lucky Woolhampton!

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

Use of coax overhead is very old technology. Many cable systems (analogue) started in the sixties relied on overhead coax along poles and between bildings, examples are Swindon Cable, Redifussion, Coventry Cable and many, many others. I think this VM 'experiment will use fibre in a similar way to that used in the US, by verizon etc, and in Japan. Hope they bring the fibre to my rural backwater soon, then we can get 2 Mbps!

  • michaels_perry
  • over 7 years ago

quote"Confirmed btw - it's FTTH. Lucky Woolhampton!"

Lets hope this is the future from Virgin :)

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

Really Dixi? Well that really IS good news.

  • GMAN99
  • over 7 years ago

Virgin media in their quest to kill their own network dead because of already over subscribed ubrs, now plan to make it worse should be the lead story. I wish we had another cable company in the uk that can offer better speeds more RELIABLE connection and better upload speeds instead of them wasting on rural locations.

  • sylvantos
  • over 7 years ago

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