Virgin Media, the UK’s largest residential ISP and provider of the country’s fastest nationwide broadband service, has started a customer pilot to test real-world deployment of 200Mb speeds. Using its brand new ultrafast network, Virgin Media will be piloting blisteringly fast speeds four times faster than the 50Mb service currently available. The 200Mb pilot is believed to be the fastest implementation of DOCSIS3 technology in the world, running faster than services offered in Japan and the US, which currently reach 160Mb and 101Mb respectively*.
Following successful lab trials, the pilot started last week in Ashford, Kent, and will build to 100 ‘lead adopters’ who will have the chance to work with Virgin Media to shape the most advanced broadband service in the UK. The pilot customers will put the advanced service through its paces and will be providing invaluable insight into what potential future uses such an ultrafast service may be able to deliver.
Through the pilot, Virgin Media will be testing applications consumers may be using regularly in the future, including state-of-the-art entertainment services using TV and broadband content in full High Definition and 3D, the ability to deliver applications and support for home IT needs through the network as well as connecting up a host of internet-ready devices such as video conferencing and home surveillance. The Virgin Media pilot will also ensure that the UK stays right at the forefront of the digital revolution as it unfolds globally.
Neil Berkett, chief executive officer at Virgin Media said, “We’re really excited to be embarking on this journey of discovery. With the only true next generation network in the UK, we’re at the forefront of innovation and understanding when it comes to ultrafast broadband services and the 200Mb pilot will give us further insight into how true ‘wideband’ services might be used by consumers.”
The pilot will be running for at least six months before results are analysed to understand potential consumer usage and to assess the commercial viability of such ultrafast services. A significant part of the pilot will also involve assessing related in-home technologies. Virgin Media will be working with a range of suppliers to help ensure advancements in broadband technology are able to be fully maximised. For example, to date, there are no wireless routers able to deliver throughput of speeds as high as 200Mb, and computers require very high specification in order to be able handle data at such a high rate.
Additionally, with high-speed broadband services powering today’s small/medium enterprises or small/home-office market, Virgin Media will be considering opportunities to develop products and services for this sector through its business division.
For more information on Virgin Media products and services visit www.virginmedia.com