Virgin Media has confirmed it’s investigating new technology that could deliver up to 10Gbps downloads without overhauling its network.
The cable provider could start trials in 2014, when new hardware for the DOCSIS 3.1 standard is expected to become available.
It could deliver up to 10Gbps downloads with 1 Gigabit uploads for business users, and up to 800Mbps for home users.
Virgin’s current network runs on the current CableLabs DOCSIS 3.0 standard, and is providing 1.5Gbps in a trial service in East London, with 200Mbps in the pipeline for consumers and 120Mbps available nationwide.
In both cases, there’s been no need to replace the high quality coaxial copper cable which runs from Virgin’s street cabinets to the user, although most cabinets now connect to Virgin’s backbone network using optical fibre.
CableLabs, which develops cable broadband and TV technologies for the industry worldwide, is expected to publish a preliminary specification for DOCSIS 3.1 in early 2013.
Trial equipment could allow tests to start in early 2014, and commercial kit is expected to be available in 2015 – the earliest that a new upgrade programme could begin.
DOCSIS 3.1 is expected to use similar innovations to improve the bandwidth it can squeeze through the network, to those used by the DVB group to boost broadcasting capacity for Freeview HD.