Virgin Media trials new low-cost 1Gbps network rollout

Virgin Media engineers lay cables in Papworth

Virgin Media engineers lay cables in Papworth

Liberty Global-owned UK service provider Virgin Media is trialling a new lower-cost way of rolling out ultra-fast internet networks in the Cambridgeshire village of Papworth.

The cable operator said it is bringing 1Gbps broadband to the village using a method called narrow-trenching which could reduce the cost of any network rollout by 33%. Narrow-trenching reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm and enables engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, making it more than twice as fast as current methods, according to the operator.

The cable operator will offer a 1Gbps trial service to 100 households in the village, while other homes in the area will be able to access 152Mpbs broadband.

“Virgin Media continues to push the boundaries of broadband, launching the UK’s first superfast service in 2008 and boosting Virgin Media homes yet again with 152Mb broadband launched this year. We know our network is unbeatable and we are excited to bring 1Gb to the people of Papworth as they help us explore a new way of rolling out our network faster and more cost-effectively,” said Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s chief customer, networks and technology officer.

Meanwhile, FTTH operator Hyperoptic is to roll out a fibre network in Cardiff, beginning with the Hayes Apartments complex above the Welsh capital’s St David’s shopping centre.

Hyperoptic said it would be able to roll out a symmetrical 1Gbps service in the capital.

Separately, Virgin Media said that yesterday was the busiest ever day on its network thanks to Apple’s release of iOS 8, leading to a 10% increase in peak download traffic week-on-week.

According to the company, 5,900TB of data was downloaded between 18:00 and 24:00.

“From what we’ve seen so far, the release of iOS 8 has driven more internet traffic than previous updates, with increased demand likely to last until the weekend. Even though the iOS 8 release has generated the biggest download day so far, our fastest customers have been downloading iOS 8 in as little as 61 seconds at peak times with no major problems reported,” said Martin Groundsell, head of broadband access at Virgin Media.

Tags: UK, Virgin Media

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