Virgin Media has announced plans to connect ‘at least’ a million premises to ultrafast fibre to the premises broadband.
The cable company’s audacious plans follow months of trials of so-called narrow trenching techniques, which have seen trialists in rural Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire connected to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband.
While Virgin Media hasn’t talked about the kinds of speeds that’ll be available over its FTTP lines, one advantage that FTTP connections has over the regular HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable) Virgin Media line is that they’re future proofed.
Lightning Strikes: Virgin Media’s network expansion project nabs 99,000 cable customersWhile trials have demonstrated that HFC can deliver gigabit broadband speeds, FTTP has the capability to go way beyond that; 10Gbps, 20Gbps and even 40Gbps has been recorded in live public trials and lab conditions tests.
Virgin Media has already started to roll out FTTP in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire with work expected to start soon in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex.
The FTTP rollout builds on the Project Lightning network expansion plan, which Virgin says will now pass 17 million properties by 2019.
In 2015, Virgin announced it would build its ultrafast network which uses DOCSIS 3 technology and co-axial cable to deliver speeds of up to 200Mbps to 4 million new homes & businesses over 5 years, taking it’s then-footprint of 12 million homes up to 16 million.
Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said: “Our £3 billion investment to bring ultrafast connectivity to more parts of the UK is not just about better broadband, it’s about future-proofing the country’s network infrastructure with the best and most modern technology.
In what could be construed as a dig at Sky and TalkTalk, who’ve been busy trialling FTTP technology in York with CityFibre and BT, whose FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections currently can’t touch Virgin’s HFC in terms of headline speeds, Mockridge added:
“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network – delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds.
“In just over one year we’ve laid enough new cable to stretch all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, reaching a quarter of a million more homes and businesses – and there’s much more to come.”