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Virgin Trials Network Expansion Via Telegraph Poles

Gordon Kelly


Virgin Trials Network Expansion Via Telegraph Poles

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...


via thinkbroadband

Virgin 50Mbit Broadband Homepage

Tim Sutton

March 11, 2010, 7:22 pm

Splendid news. I have my very own telegraph pole, I'm confident Virgin will be in Devon hooking it up just as soon as I shoo those pesky flying pigs off the transformers.

Gordon, is there anything about Onlive coming to Trusted? I'd appreciate a TR perspective, plus the comments thread would certainly be lively.


March 11, 2010, 7:45 pm

What's the big deal if the telegraph/telephone/power poles are there already? Telstraclear in New Zealand have used them for years to deliver cable tv over a fibre network. From memory Telecom NZ were forced to allow them to use the poles, and there are regulations about the height etc.


March 11, 2010, 8:06 pm

At the risk of seeming narrow minded and perhaps controversial, I never understood the merits of underground cabling in built up areas. Fine in the national routes, along roads etc. But hey, telegraph poles are almost ubiquitous and easy to access. Surely cheaper than digging up Britain to lay cables and the again to repair them...

Maybe in my very rural backwater the 21st century will arrive before the 22nd does!

Common sense at last Virgin.. Radical Mr Branson as ever ;)


March 11, 2010, 8:43 pm

Im in a random village in Berkshire! Oh please please please please please let it be my village (crossed fingers)

Actually thinking about it id imagine the villagers involved would know about it already, curses.


March 11, 2010, 8:46 pm

I am in Birmingham and cannot receive Virgin Digital TV. I guess it is because I live near the University in a Student Ghetto.

Ben 3

March 11, 2010, 9:33 pm

The village is named in the press release. It's Woolhampton


March 11, 2010, 9:39 pm

Woolhampton isn't an unnamed village (according to The Register)

Ala Miah

March 11, 2010, 9:56 pm

This is single handedly the best news to come out this year (ok it's march) but still. If they do this to every tele poll in UK(London - where i live first please) then it would be awsome. it mean never having to rely on sky tv for paid content every again and o yeah access to 50mb BB.



March 11, 2010, 11:42 pm

"every UK home has a telephone line running directly to it."

I think they'll be running new cables on the poles rather than using the existing lines, otherwise it's just FttC. Wait - that's fine! FttC please!


March 12, 2010, 12:45 am

@Ryan, I'm not implying they'll use the phone lines! Simply that they already have wires running to the buildings so they can easily follow them.

@M7S - thanks for that


March 12, 2010, 5:30 am

My dad lives in a Berkshire village with dog-slow ADSL - heres hoping. Seems like an interesting idea, hopefully should increase competition in non cabled areas, especially for pay TV, and hopefully will speed up the roll out of improved DSL based service as well. I dont think much of VM as a company, but innovation and competition is good.

A Jay

March 13, 2010, 1:29 am

This system has already been installed and is operational in Jamaica with an ISP there... 100% of the fibre optic cables are deployed on telegraph poles.


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