MARCH 11, 2010 -- Virgin Media announced a new trial using telegraph poles to deliver ultra-fast 50Mb broadband to the Berkshire village of Woolhampton.
By connecting homes directly to Virgin Media's fiber-optic network, the trial will increase broadband speeds more than ten-fold in a rural community that has previously relied on BT’s copper network. As well as ultra-fast broadband, villagers will be offered Virgin Media's TV service, including roughly 5,000 hours of catch-up TV and on-demand content. The trial will start this month and is scheduled to run for approximately six months.
The trial is part of Virgin Media’s plans to bring next-generation digital services to people who live beyond the reach of fiber-optic networks. Virgin Media has announced plans to extend its fiber-optic network, which passes 12.6 million homes, to 500,000 new homes and has identified more than one million homes in parts of the UK that stand to benefit from deployment over telegraph poles.
The government is considering a change to planning guidelines which is needed to enable large-scale, overhead deployment. In the meantime, the Woolhampton trial will provide insight into the technical, operational, and commercial viability of this type of solution and build on what Virgin Media has learned from a trial in Cornwall started in 2009.
Virgin Media believes that using overhead poles as well as underground ducts could, in some cases, significantly improve the viability of delivering next-generation digital services to rural communities and continues to explore a range of innovative solutions that could allow it to further increase coverage.