It has had its detractors, but in the four years that have passed since it swallowed Telewest and NTL Virgin Media has become by far the fastest ISP on the country and its impending 100Mbit/sec package will only underline that further. Problem is, Virgin’s flying cable network isn’t available everywhere, but this is something it wants to change.
Having deployed some lateral (or should that be vertical?) thinking, the company has announced it is trialling a method of deploying its cable network over telegraph poles. This would avoid the rigmarole of digging up roads and seeking endless planning permission. Furthermore, every UK home (ok I’m sure there is the odd exception) has a telephone line running directly to it.
The random lucky trial location this time around is an unnamed village in Berkshire (so you can’t suddenly rush to move there) and trialists will be given access to Virgin’s TV service and 50Mbit/sec service during six months of tests.
“This unique trial will allow us to understand the possibilities of aerial deployment and may provide an exciting new way to extend next generation broadband services,” said Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett. “With everything from BBC iPlayer to YouTube increasingly demanding reliable ultrafast broadband speeds, we're keen to ensure that all communities, in towns, cities and villages right across the UK, stand to benefit."
Currently Virgin reaches 12.6m homes in the UK and aims to bump that by an initial 500,000 over the next year. Should this trial prove a success it could well pave the way for many more of us to benefit too...