To celebrate the launch of Virgin Media’s new up to 152Mbps broadband service, we were invited to see the company’s latest invention; a hybrid car-front room type thing.
Despite looking like a Wacky Races car come to life, the idea behind this living room-on-wheels is to demonstrate how Virgin’s new ultrafast services will be turbo-charging living rooms across the UK – literally in this case.
This vehicle, made by design company Helix, will be hitting the roads soon, demonstrating the power of Virgin’s network.
The car itself is a Robin Hood S7 kit car with a 2.0 litre Ford Pinto engine. Mild ERW steel was fixed to the chassis, creating a frame for the living room floor section and the bespoke sofa to sit on. The car also houses a generator which will be used to power the Super Hub, the TiVo set top box and the TV screen set into the frame.
The idea is that when the car is touring the UK, it’ll be able to pull up to a Virgin Media street cabinet and plug into the network, demonstrating the TiVo and the power of 152Mbps broadband.
Sadly, the top speed of the car itself is said to be around the 80-100mph mark. So while the car will be demonstrating next-gen broadband, it’s not capable of driving at ultrafast speeds itself.
“Our network is very powerful and versatile. We’ve successfully tested 1.5Gbps speeds on our network.” – Ade Brittain, innovations technologist, Virgin Media. While the car itself demonstrates the benefits of Virgin’s network we were also able to chat to Ade Brittain, innovations technologist at Virgin Media. Brittain explained why the latest round of speed doubling is essential for UK homes today and how Virgin Media is well poised to release more bandwidth as and when it’s needed.
Last year Virgin Media announced price increases of on average 6.7 per cent, which took effect from February 1. As a trade off, customers are getting faster broadband. But do we need 152Mbps in this day and age and it is worth the rise in prices?
Brittain said: “There are more and more smart devices in the home. People have got tablets, phones, maybe a work phone, games consoles. With all of those family members using all these devices at once you really do need those headline speeds so that everyone can get the best possible experience from the devices they’re using.”
As well as cranking the speed of the top level 120Mbps package up to 152Mbps, Virgin Media is also boosting the speed of its 30Mbps and 60Mbps services, up to 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively.
Virgin Media is confident that this will be enough to meet the demands of most customers today and that there’s room to go even faster. The next time that happens, maybe Virgin Media could get Helix to trick out one of these.
Watch our interview with Ade Brittain below along with footage of a man dressed up as a dog bombing round central London.