British broadband provider Virgin Media has begun trialling a new broadband service capable of delivering speeds of up to 8Gbps via its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, ISPreview reports. In a small-scale test which is expected to run for six months, 50 homes in the village of Papworth, in Cambridgeshire, are being connected. Virgin Media has indicated, however, that currently it has ‘no plans to roll this [technology] out’ on a wider scale, and it has been suggested that the trial is mainly being undertaken with a view to learning what the operator’s full fibre network is capable of.
According to the report, it appears that the trial is using point-to-point Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) technology, which Virgin Media had previously used to demonstrate peak downlink rates of up to 1Gbps. To achieve the improved speeds the telco is said to have worked with long-time technology partner ARRIS by testing new hardware and software in its residential fibre network. In this latest trial, a peak download speed of 8.47Gbps and upload of 8.14Gbps was confirmed to have been achieved, with this tested and independently verified by Ofcom’s technical partner, SamKnows.
Commenting on the trial, Richard Sinclair, Virgin Media’s Executive Director of Connectivity, was cited as saying: ‘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 … As speed leaders, Virgin Media is not going to stand still; this trial is about looking ahead to the next decade and beyond. 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.’