Virgin Media to test “world’s fastest cable broadband”


Company to trial internet download speeds of up to 1.5Gbps in east London, as it reveals Q1 revenue growth in all areas of the business

Virgin Media is to test internet speeds of up to 1.5Gbps in partnership with four companies in east London. Using the company’s cable network, the trial will take place in the vicinity of Old Street, dubbed the ‘Silicon Roundabout’.

The 1.5Gbps download and 150Mbps upload service will use the same infrastructure and technology as Virgin Media currently uses to provide residential customers with home broadband. It said that if successful, this will the be world’s fastest cable connection and more than 240 times faster than the national average broadband.

It added similar technology tests have already proven the capability of cable to deliver speeds of 1Gbps.

Each of the companies taking part in the trial is involved in the creative industries, working with video for online and mobile streaming, producing interactive applications for the internet and bespoke broadcasting services for live programmes and events.

Virgin Media said the new faster speeds are possible because of the £13 billion of private investment made by the company which means that every cable home is connected to a state-of-the-art fibre optic network by a high-grade coaxial line.

Virgin Media executive director of broadband Jon James said: “Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously.

“Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time.”

The announcement comes as Virgin Media announced its financial results for Q1 2011, which saw revenue growth in all areas.

More specifically, mobile revenues grew 3.8 per cent to £136.9 million. The company added 52,600 contract customers in the quarter, with the total increasing 23 per cent from the end of March 2010 to 1.3 million.

Mobile ARPU rose 7.3 per cent to £14.70, which the company said was a result of the improved proportion of higher ARPU contract customers. Around 556,000 cable households now have one or more of Virgin’s mobile contracts, up 17 per cent on a year ago. Quad-play penetration increased to around 12 per cent compared to 11 per cent a year ago.

Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett (pictured) said: “This has been another solid quarter where we have maintained strong levels of revenue growth and generated substantial free cash flow. As more customers demand better connectivity, we have seen an increase in the take-up of faster broadband speeds and continued to improve the quality of our customer base.”