British cableco Virgin Media is understood to be preparing a major expansion of its Wi-Fi network, according to local broadsheet The Telegraph. With such a move reportedly on the cards as the operator looks to mount a stronger challenge to fixed line incumbent BT, Virgin is said to be planning to install Wi-Fi hotspots in its street-side cabinets in order to provide subscribers with wireless broadband connectivity outside the home at no extra charge. In addition, the cableco is also reportedly preparing a major update to its home routers which would allow customers to use each other’s wireless networks when they are in range. Such plans will reportedly arrive alongside a free speed boost for the operator’s fixed broadband subscribers, with this aimed at encouraging users to share capacity, while Virgin Media is also expected to issue assurances that the public Wi-Fi network will be kept separate from customers’ secure private connections.
With regards to speed increases, meanwhile, thinkbroadband reports that Virgin Media’s next round of upgrades are scheduled to begin in October. With those on the current entry level downlink rate of 50Mbps expected to have their connection boosted to 100Mbps downlink, those subscribers signed up to the cableco’s 100Mbps and 152Mbps plan will reportedly have their speeds increased to 200Mbps and 300Mbps, respectively.