Virgin Media has announced plans to offer a gigabit internet service to almost 15 million UK homes. The Liberty Global cablenet says its next generation network will be fully deployed by the end of 2021, making it the UK’s largest and fastest widely available residential gigabit connectivity provider. In doing so, Virgin is throwing down the gauntlet to BT and those using the Openreach infrastructure.
The rollout will begin later in the year, starting with Southampton, where the first customers trialling these speeds have already been connected.
Its anticipated that by the end of the year more than a million people will be able to access broadband speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media, said: “This is a giant digital leap forward for the UK. “Virgin Media has been the unparalleled speed leader for many years. Very soon, for the first time ever, millions of people right across the country will be able to experience hyperfast and reliable gigabit internet connections thanks to the latest technology and the power of our network.
Virgin Media is using DOCSIS 3.1 technology that it says will allow further improvements over the next decade.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “We welcome Virgin Media’s commitment to investing further in its network, providing gigabit speeds to millions more households. This shows the race to roll out ultrafast speeds to people and businesses across the UK is really gathering pace.”
In response, Clive Selley, Openreach’s CEO, said: “It’s great to see others working to upgrade their existing networks, but only full fibre to the premises technology can deliver the future-proof connectivity the UK needs. We’re making full fibre broadband available to 20,000 homes and businesses each week and we’re hugely ambitious about helping the Government upgrade the entire nation.”
In February, as further proof of its network innovation and broadband speed leadership, Virgin Media began trialling the UK’s fastest home broadband with a full fibre connection offering speeds of more than 8Gbps to homes in Cambridgeshire. The trial made use of EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) technology – a global point-to-point network standard.
Further details on the next Virgin Media gigacities as well as availability and pricing will be announced in the coming months.
Liberty Global has already successfully launched gigabit cities in in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands using DOCSIS 3.1 technology.