‘Theoretically near infinite capacity’
Virgin Media, which refers to itself as ‘the UK's leading broadband provider', has announced it's testing Internet speeds of up to 1.5Gb (which we take to mean gigabits per second, or Gbps) on its cable network in London.
This announcement marks the latest phase of the arms race between VM and BT, with each bidding to offer the market the highest claimed download speeds. This is typically the number that will most influence potential broadband customers, and thus the key battleground for ISPs.
While the national average is supposedly around 6Mbps, many people still experience significantly less than that. This has resulted in increased pressure on ISPs to be more transparent about their traffic management policies and more honest about their claims.
VM has tended to announce and launch faster services than the BT ecosystem over the past few years, and wastes little time in announcing higher speeds, however far they may be from becoming available to the average punter. Right now the fastest product it has on the market is 100Mbps.
The location of the trial is the Old Street area of London which, because it has a big roundabout and some tech investment, is being dubbed ‘Silicon Roundabout'.
Jon James, executive director of broadband at VM, said: "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."
VM was keen to highlight the fact that these developments are the result of private investment (as opposed to all the public money being demanded by BT) and that its fibre network offers ‘theoretically near infinite capacity', whatever that means. There was no indication of when this technology may be more widely available.