Virgin Media already offers some pretty impressive broadband speeds, with some areas of the UK already able to access downloads at speeds in excess of 1Gbps. At that speedy pace, which is around 16 times faster than the average UK home broadband connection, customers can beam a feature-length HD 1080p blockbuster to their TVs in under 40 seconds.
You might be wondering whether you really need expensive 1Gbps broadband blasted into your home. In short – no. As it stands, most homes will manage on much lower speeds. After all, Netflix recommends speeds of just 25Mbps to access its popular 4K streaming service.
However, as our homes get ever more connected and packed full of gadgets, faster downloads could become a necessity.
The launch of next-gen consoles and 8K TVs will also place added strain on networks with game downloads expected to get far bigger in the future and pin-sharp 8K needing much more bandwidth to make sure the image stays stutter-free.
Virgin is clearly aware that the demands placed on its services are only going to increase with the firm now testing multi-gigabit speeds. The trial, delivered on the operator’s network in Reading, saw Virgin Media install prototype Infinera XR Optics technology in its network.
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Speaking about the update, Jeanie York, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Virgin Media, said: “Our next-generation network already offers gigabit connectivity to more than 7 million homes, but with data use and demand for hyperfast speeds surging, we’re continually investing in our network to prepare for whatever the future brings.
“Innovations like this ensure our customers continue to benefit from the UK’s fastest widely available speeds, pave the way for future network upgrades and help support the rollout of multi-gigabit broadband and mobile services.”
Virgin Media isn’t the only firm testing much faster speeds with Nokia and Vodafone recently revealing its latest broadband technology. The two firms, who have long-standing collaboration, have managed to beam files across a network at speeds of 100Gbps.
The speeds have been made possible thanks to something called Passive Optical Network (PON) technology which makes data transmission more efficient. The trial, which took place in Vodafone’s Eschborn lab in Germany last month, could pave the way for homes to see vastly improved speeds in the coming years.