Virgin Media tests 8Gbps broadband

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

A trial of hyperfast broadband technology will see 50 homeowners in Papworth, Cambridgeshire, receive a broadband connection capable of delivering download speeds of 8Gbps - 216 times the UK average.

The hyperfast connection uses Virgin Media’s existing fibre network to provide download speeds more than 200 times faster the UK average. Triallists are benefiting from symmetrical connectivity, meaning the connection supports simultaneous upload and download speeds of more than 8Gbps.

With the connection ultra-high definition 4K films and TV programmes, very large files and 360 degree videos can be downloaded and uploaded almost instantaneously, even with multiple devices using the connection simultaneously. For example, with the connection users can:

  • Download a high definition (HD) film (5GB) in just 5 seconds, compared to more than 15 minutes on the UK’s average connection.
  • Download an Ultra High Definition 4K film (20GB) in just 20 seconds, compared to more than an hour on the UK’s average connection.
  • Download a very large PlayStation 4 game, for example Red Dead Redemption 2 (99GB download), in less than 2 minutes, compared to more than 5 hours on the UK’s average connection.
  • Upload 300 high-resolution holiday photos (3GB) in just 3 seconds, compared to nearly 1 hour 10 minutes on the UK’s average connection.

The trial, made possible through continued network investment and collaboration with Liberty Global, is delivered using an existing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection meaning that no dedicated line is required. The six month trial will mean around 50 homes in Papworth, Cambridgeshire, can benefit from the UK’s fastest home broadband speeds.

In this trial data is transferred along fibre optic cables using EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) technology - a global point-to-point network standard. EPON is typically used to deliver up to 1Gbps speeds to UK homes, but Virgin Media has been working with technology partner, ARRIS, to trial new equipment and software to increase the speeds that its residential fibre network is capable of delivering.

Richard Sinclair, Executive Director of Connectivity at Virgin Media, said: “As the UK’s fastest widely available broadband provider, we’re committed to making Britain faster and this trial pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.

“With the volume of our customers’ internet usage almost doubling every year, trials like this will ensure we have the capability to meet the demand of data-hungry services in the future – be that over cable or full fibre.”