"World's fastest cable broadband" unveiled in UK by Virgin Media

Most of us can still remember the horrors of dial-up internet: being unable to make a phone call while online; the seemingly endless wait while the modem tried to establish a connection; the pain of waiting a full half-hour to download a single low-bitrate music file. How far we have come since those dark days – and yet, even today, almost all of us still have those moments when the web feels just too darned slow.

In the UK, the average internet connection speed now stands at just over 6Mbps – adequate for most tasks, but in the modern multi-computer household, the available bandwidth at that speed quickly gets eaten up when more than one user is, for example, streaming HD video from YouTube. With the increasing consumption of multimedia content over the web, the need for speed is increasing.

It’s against this backdrop that Virgin Media recently unveiled its vision of a faster broadband future, bringing downstream speeds of up to 1.5Gbps (and 150Mbps upstream) to London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’, an area of the capital near its financial district which has grown to become a major hub for digital enterprise and tech start-ups in the UK. The speeds being delivered as part of this trial are over 240 times faster than the national average, and provide enough bandwidth to stream ten 3D movies simultaneously.

Jon James, executive editor of Virgin Media broadband, said: “As people are simultaneously connecting more gadgets to the internet and doing more online than ever before […] Virgin Media is delivering some of the fastest broadband in the world and, thanks to our ongoing investment, we're able to anticipate and lead the way in meeting growing demand for bandwidth.”

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, underlined the importance of such trials as being a key instrument to “attract new companies and entrepreneurs, bringing new jobs and growth” to areas that see this sort of technological advancement.  

The speeds being trialled may seem almost fantastically fast, but the delivery infrastructure is identical to that already being used by Virgin Media to bring its up-to-100Mbps service to residential customers. While it’s unlikely that Virgin will be offering a 1.5Gbps service to end-users any time soon, the flexibility of the company’s network in being able to offer these speeds in the future (without costly infrastructure upgrades) will surely prove to be an advantage for Virgin, and ultimately beneficial to its customers in the long term.

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40 Comments

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I am sorry that is by far not the fastest Internet Connection. I read somewhere in Sweden already has 40Gbps if you are willing to paid.

And 1Gbps is actually available in Hong Kong for quite a long time. And it can already reach customers 10 - 100 times more then what Virgin Media think or propose.

Daniel said,
Talking about super fast broadband and they cant even get their tivo working properly (http://community.virginmedia.c...-failure-please/td-p/618883) i wont hold my breath...

Virgin Media's broadband is top-notch; the best in the country (OK, in my area, at least). Their TV service on the other hand, is just terrible. They obviously dedicate the majority of their time to the broadband, and frankly, I'd prefer it to stay that way, because at the moment, in my area, it's still miles better than anything on a BT line.

Edited by MightyJordan, Jul 25 2011, 11:03am :

MightyJordan said,

Virgin Media's broadband is top-notch; the best in the country (OK, in my area, at least). Their TV service on the other hand, is just terrible. They obviously dedicate the majority of their time to the broadband, and frankly, I'd prefer it to stay that way, because at the moment, in my area, it's still miles better than anything on a BT line.

Everyone knows if you want a good TV service you go with SKY. If you want a good Internet Service Provider (if you have it in your area) then you go with Virgin. Simples

Gothic_Rebel said,

Everyone knows if you want a good TV service you go with SKY. If you want a good Internet Service Provider (if you have it in your area) then you go with Virgin. Simples
Simple to understand but a pain in the arse nonetheless. Its cheaper and simpler to choose one provider for broadband, tv and phone.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Available in how much of the country... About a 20 mile radius around my town has no cable still -_-

I can't get cable here where I am either but my sister a mile up the road...................shes more or less next to the phone exchange (How good it would be to live up there)

omg soo much piracy!! thats the only good use for these speeds right?? 190 in and 19 out, wonder what the price is? caps likely at something that the cap will hit within 10 min use.

the upload/download can't be equal over coax because of the bandwidth for the channel assignments.

Ruciz said,
omg soo much piracy!! thats the only good use for these speeds right?? 190 in and 19 out, wonder what the price is? caps likely at something that the cap will hit within 10 min use.

the upload/download can't be equal over coax because of the bandwidth for the channel assignments.


Linux distros, Technet/MSDN downloads, etc. Yup, only piracy. LOL

JSemple3 said,
Makes my 200KB MAX download speed look amateurish (I'm in a crappy area for broadband sadly)

I feel for you dude. Sorry to hear a lot of people cant get these speeds. And prob wont for a long time. You could move house lol.

JSemple3 said,
Makes my 200KB MAX download speed look amateurish (I'm in a crappy area for broadband sadly)

KB??!

Wow, I feel bad for you man. Is there no alternative? Surely even satellite broadband would be quicker than that

alexalex said,
Why can't the download/upload speeds be synchronous ?

It's the technology itself that limits this, not the way Virgin does it (Although technically there's nothing stopping them bonding more upstream channels than downstream channels).

Maybe it's about time that the cable network began to expand again. I was promised that my area would be cabled up within a year - that was about 12 years ago now.

Slugsie said,
Maybe it's about time that the cable network began to expand again. I was promised that my area would be cabled up within a year - that was about 12 years ago now.

I believe that Virgin is working on upgrading and doing essential maintenance on the existing areas before they push out to new areas. Essentially the network at the moment is a bit of a mess, thanks to (previous) lack of investment, poor maintenance and the issue of cobbling together 2 major cable providers (one of which had 2 distinct networks), who themselves were made up of several other providers that were bought up and merged over the years, each of whom operated and built their networks differently.

wov, 1.5 Gbps is the amazing speed ..
even my computer don't copy files with such great speed ..
btw, why there is great difference between uploading and downloading speed ?

Worlds fastest capped internet yaaaaaaaay.

They will oversaturate the Docsis 3 network and start capping people, dont really see the point in making faster and faster internet when you can only use it at full capacity for less than an hour.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Worlds fastest capped internet yaaaaaaaay.

They will oversaturate the Docsis 3 network and start capping people, dont really see the point in making faster and faster internet when you can only use it at full capacity for less than an hour.

I'm guessing you haven't read up on their current traffic management policy: http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.html

Basically, there's no download limits on the 50Mb and 100Mb packages. There's also no upload limit on the 100Mb package; there is one on the 50Mb package, but that doesn't take effect until your area's upload speed has been upgraded from 1.5Mb to 5Mb, and even when it's limited, it's still 1.75Mb, and personally, 1.5Mb upload has been more than enough for everyone in the house.

As for the other packages, if you need to download a lot (whether it's Steam games or something else), then leave your computer on overnight, as after 9pm, there's no limits until 10am, so you've got 13 hours of unlimited downloading to get everything you need.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Worlds fastest capped internet yaaaaaaaay.

They will oversaturate the Docsis 3 network and start capping people, dont really see the point in making faster and faster internet when you can only use it at full capacity for less than an hour.

No.

MightyJordan said,

... there is one on the 50Mb package, but that doesn't take effect until your area's upload speed has been upgraded from 1.5Mb to 5Mb, and even when it's limited, it's still 1.75Mb, and personally, 1.5Mb upload has been more than enough for everyone in the house.

According to the link you gave that table states there is no cap on the 50mb upload either... unless it's wrong which wouldn't surprise me.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Worlds fastest capped internet yaaaaaaaay.

They will oversaturate the Docsis 3 network and start capping people, dont really see the point in making faster and faster internet when you can only use it at full capacity for less than an hour.


I DL around 300GB per month on their 50mb package, no caps here.

MightyJordan said,

I'm guessing you haven't read up on their current traffic management policy: http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.html

Basically, there's no download limits on the 50Mb and 100Mb packages. There's also no upload limit on the 100Mb package; there is one on the 50Mb package, but that doesn't take effect until your area's upload speed has been upgraded from 1.5Mb to 5Mb, and even when it's limited, it's still 1.75Mb, and personally, 1.5Mb upload has been more than enough for everyone in the house.

As for the other packages, if you need to download a lot (whether it's Steam games or something else), then leave your computer on overnight, as after 9pm, there's no limits until 10am, so you've got 13 hours of unlimited downloading to get everything you need.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/1401122122.png

No 100mb for me yet, and I don't really upload anymore, but it's nice to have the extra upload speed when needed

Wam7 said,
According to the link you gave that table states there is no cap on the 50mb upload either... unless it's wrong which wouldn't surprise me.
That table represents the caps applying to the old upload speeds. When upload speed is improved in your area, you move to the new table of which with the 50Mb package can restrict your upload speed back to 1.75Mb, still 0.75Mb faster than before the increase.

Its also misleading for the poster to say there are no download limits on the 100/50Mb packages. For the most part there aren't but throttling does apply to P2P activity at peak times.

I'm on 50Mb and am very happy with the up/down speeds I get. Since I do my downloading using filesharing websites as opposed to P2P methods I haven't been restricted with how much or how fast I can download. Some days I've downloaded as much as 200GB so if there were any hidden limits, I'd know about them.

Ambroos said,
Hm, do want!

Shame you wont get it.

"While it's unlikely that Virgin will be offering a 1.5Gbps service to end-users any time soon, the flexibility of the company's network in being able to offer these speeds in the future"