Virgin Media Trial ‘World’s Fastest Broadband”

written by Harry - Leave a reply

4/20/2011 – The UK telecoms and cable giant, Virgin Media, today unveiled plans to test out the world’s fastest broadband service in London, England.

virgin-media-logoThe project plans to trial download speeds of up to 1.5Gbps in and around Old Street, London, where four lucky companies in the area will be the first to experience never before seen internet services. Dubbed ‘the Silicon Roundabout’, businesses will have access to speeds ten times faster than the current fastest service of 100Mbps (Megabits per second) and over 200 times quicker than the UK household average of 6.2Mbps.

The new speeds mean customers would be able to download a high-quality movie or video game in just 55 seconds, rather than the three hours and 40 minutes it would take with the current UK average speed.


Virgin Media is promoting the project as a response to government and consumer demand for lighting-fast internet connections in the United Kingdom. The company claims that consumers are demanding ever faster connectivity, with 39 per cent of new subscribers ordering speeds of 20Mbps or more – this is compared with only 15 per cent just a year ago.

They now have over 860,000 customers subscribing to their 20Mbps service and, rather more significantly, more than 150,000 customers on their 50Mbps package – a figure twice as many as a year ago.

The company, which has invested over $21 billion in laying fiber cabling throughout the country, rather poignantly stated that the speed of the 1.5Gbps service itself was not, in itself, it’s biggest advantage. Instead they point to the fact that multiple users will now be able to use the internet simultaneously without experiencing network issues. Executive director of broadband at Virgin Media, Jon James, said: ‘Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously.’

Internet speeds often reduce if multiple people in a household try to use the internet at the same time. Services also tend to slow down during peak hours in the evening as more users in the area put pressure on the same exchange box. Many service providers currently use ‘traffic management’, or bandwidth throttling, to make sure everyone in the area gets a fair share of the service speed.


Despite efforts being made by ISPs in both the UK and USA to bring faster connection speeds to communities nationwide, many are still being criticised by governing bodies for delivering only half of their advertised headline speeds. This has proven to be a big problem for providers delivering broadband via a standard phone line using copper wires, known as ASDL broadband.

Using traditional telephone line technology to deliver internet services can be problematic because signal speeds slow down drastically the further they must travel along the cable from a telephone exchange. This is why laying fiber networks to replace this method is important. With fiber replacing copper, users experience minimal speed deterioration. The reason fiber isn’t yet ubiquitously available, however, is that it is expensive and time consuming to roll out. Naturally, densely populated and business centric areas get serviced first.


The news of Virgin Media’s project follows recent news of Google’s plan to build a 1Gbps network in Kansas City, Kansas. With multiple technology firms around the world making such efforts to prove what can be done, it won’t be long before competitors jump on the bandwagon and consumer demand skyrockets.

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