Tuesday , November 24 2020

Virgin Media tests 8Gbps broadband

Man on computer with speed testPicture Copyright
Virgin Media


The speed test was verified by Sam Knows test service

A handful of homes in Cambridgeshire have tested broadband speeds of 8Gbps as part of a Virgin Media trial.

Currently, only eight households, in the village of Papworth, are involved in the trial, but Virgin Media hopes to extend this to 50 over time.

The technology it uses, ethernet passive optical networks, offers the same download and upload speeds.

One analyst said it was important for fiber operators to secure future-proof networks and ensure that there was sufficient capacity.

Speeds of 8Gbps will allow users to:

  • download a 5 GB HD movie in five seconds
  • download a 20GB ultra-high definition 4k movie in 20 seconds
  • Download a 99 GB video game in less than two minutes
  • upload 300 high resolution 3 GB images in three seconds

"With the amount of our customers' internet usage almost doubling every year, attempts like this will ensure that we have the ability to meet the demand for data-based services in the future – it's over cable or full fiber," said Richard Sinclair, CEO of connection to Virgin Media.

He added that the experiment aimed to look forward "to the next decade and over".

Fiber frenzy

Independent telecom analyst Paolo Pescatore is not convinced that there is yet an appetite for such speeds.

"There has recently been a fiber phase and there is a clear argument for upgrading to fiber, but people will notice the difference [between 1Gbps and 5Gbps]?" he asked.

That said, it was important that all providers found ways to future-proof their networks, Pescatore said.

"It's a natural advance for Virgin Media to expand its network and provide more speed and capacity, and this used existing infrastructure so it didn't have to dig the roads," he said.

"Providers must be wise about their investments."

Picture Copyright
Getty Images


As households use more gadgets, the demand for higher speed links is also growing

Virgin Media's UK network is currently crossing over 14 million sites using a cable and fiber optic combination.

The company has been criticized by some for not tackling the digital sharing and concentrating its network in more profitable cities and not instead of expanding it to multiple rural areas.

Last year, Need4Speed ​​joined forces to roll out ultra-fast services to 4,000 rooms in the Test Valley in Hampshire, but admitted that it is not likely to reach much rural areas.

Rival BT, relying on its old copper network to carry many of its broadband connections from street cabinets to consumer homes, has promised full-fiber connections to three million homes by 2020. Of these, 70,000 will be rural.

In February last year, another fast fiber company, Hyperoptic, tested speeds of up to 10 Gbps in a home in East London, as it says is the fastest in the UK using an existing network rather than a dedicated line.

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