Virgin Media customers could be enjoying download speeds of up to 1Gbps in 2015.
Speaking at the Cable Congress 2013 conference in London today, Ralph Brown CTO of CableLabs and Virgin Media’s network architect Phil Oakley spoke about DOCSIS 3.1 and the future of cable networks.
Brown announced that DOCSIS 3.1, which can drive 1Gbps services to homes, would be available to ISPs like Virgin Media in 2014 and initial deployments to customers could arrive in 2015 through 2016.
Speaking about overhauling the network in the UK, Oakley said that faster speeds: “will come and will be available. It’s all about seeing how we can come to that.”
Virgin Media revealed last December that it was investigating how it could deliver even faster speeds of 10Gbps using its existing network.
BT’s network is already capable of delivering these speeds but only in places where FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines have been deployed. BT’s FTTP On Demand programme will let customers upgrade the copper last mile of their line, but as we’ve seen this looks like it’s going to be expensive and beyond the means of your average UK household.
Virgin Media by contrast would be able to deliver 1Gbps download speeds without having to replace the coaxial copper part of its connections. The upgrade costs therefore would be relatively minor.
While we’d expect a premium 1Gbps service to cost a fair bit, we can’t imagine customers would need to cough up over £1,000 for connection.
BT is expected to have finished work on the majority of its regional BDUK contracts by 2015, which will see 90 per cent of premises in most counties able to get BT’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband. At the same time, Virgin Media could be piping 1Gbps speeds to customers on its own network.