Virgin Media mulling London Wi-Fi network options

2 Aug 2011

UK cableco Virgin Media is reportedly examining the possibility of using its existing infrastructure to develop a Wi-Fi ‘metro’ network in London, Broadband TV News reports. It is understood that Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett has confirmed that his company was in negotiations at an ‘advanced’ stage with a number of unnamed boroughs and councils in the capital with a view to offering additional broadband services. Among the options thought to be under consideration are the deployment of a free Wi-Fi network, available to anyone in the area covered, and offering downlink speeds of up to 500kbps, although Virgin Media customers accessing the wireless network would benefit from far higher downlink rates, up to 10Mbps. Another mooted option is believed to involve Virgin wholesaling the offer, whereby it would utilise the ‘spare’ capacity on its network it believes exists while many people are out of the home during the daytime. Commenting on the matter, Mr Berkett was quoted as saying: ‘There’s very few things I take a punt on as a business person. It’s a few million pounds, but I think it is a real opportunity if you think about the gap that is occurring between what the consumer needs outside the home and what they can get on 3G.’

United Kingdom, Virgin Media