British multi-service operator (MSO) Virgin Media has successfully trialled the use of wireless radio signals to connect homes in a Newbury village to gigabit speeds and TV services over full fibre. The trial, which was led by the operator’s parent company Liberty Global and used Ericsson’s radio technology, made use of high-capacity millimetre wave radio technology to connect two ‘trunk’ points over three kilometres with a 10Gbps signal. The signal was then converted within a cabinet and services delivered to premises over a full fibre connection, it said.
Outlining details of the tests via press release, the MSO noted that it started by initially connecting twelve homes in Greenham, located just on the edge of the market town of Newbury, which it claims are receiving ‘reliable’ 1Gbps/150Mbps trial speeds, alongside a full line-up of TV services. According to the operator, the 10Gbps radio link can sustainably support delivery of residential services to 500 homes when considering a 40% average annual growth in data consumption, while following configuration changes it has suggested the radio link could be upgraded to support a 20Gbps connection – meaning 2,000 homes could comfortably be connected in one area.
Virgin Media has claimed that, by minimising disruption and avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive civil engineering work, this wireless backhaul could mean that trunk network build costs are reduced by up to 90%. Such a reduction could help make it viable to connect premises previously deemed too costly or logistically challenging, it said.