Virgin Media testing 8Gbps broadband speeds

Future Speed For Future Need

by Andy Bassett Feb 6, 2019 at 11:15 AM

  • Tech News


    Virgin Media testing 8Gbps broadband speeds
    Broadband speeds of 8Gbps have been trialled by Virgin Media in an effort to future-proof against escalating demand.
    A group of eight households in the Cambridge village of Papworth have successfully utilised Ethernet Passive Optical Network technology (EPON) to achieve speeds of 8Gbps. Unlike traditional fibre to the premises (FTTP) networks provided by other services, EPON allows the same speeds for downloads and uploads and this latest trial enables Virgin Media to keep ahead in the technology and speed roll-out race when the time comes.

    The new speeds are achieved on current cabling with only the customer end equipment being any different from previous installations.

    To independently verify the speeds, Virgin Media worked with Ofcom’s technical partner, SamKnows which had to fast-track the development of a multi-gigabit speed testing tool.

    8 Gbps will allow users to:
    • download a high-definition film of 5GB in five seconds
    • download an ultra-high definition 4k film of 20GB in 20 seconds
    • download a video game of 99GB in less than two minutes
    • upload 300 high-resolution photos totalling 3GB in three seconds

    Virgin Media executive director of connectivity, Richard Sinclair, said. "With the volume of our customers' internet usage almost doubling every year, trials like this will ensure we have the capability to meet the demand of data-hungry services in the future - be that over cable or full fibre."

    As bandwidth and speed requirements become greater with the advent of new technologies (8K is on its way) and homes become packed with multiple devices, security cameras and smart systems, demand will only go one way.

    The figures reported in these trials often cause criticisms of a digital divide to resurface, in as much as rural areas tend to lag behind towns and cities as companies struggle logistically and financially to install the necessary infrastructure to remote communities.

    Virgin Media teamed up with Need4Speed last year to provide ultra-fast services to 4,000 rural premises in Hampshire but admits the most remote areas remain a challenge.

    Although Virgin Media hopes to extend the initial trial to 50 over time, it has no plans to roll out the new speeds more widely in the immediate future. However, it is clearly in the process of positioning itself to be ready to provide the necessary bump in service to its customers when required.

    Does anyone know what property prices are like in Papworth?

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