Just as 5G is promising a drastic upgrade in terms of speed and latency, Virgin Media is promising those in the village of Papworth, Cambridgeshire, a huge upgrade to their home broadband. That’s because the firm is trialling new Ethernet Passive Optical Network (Epon) equipment in the area, which will see 50 homeowners in the village receive internet speeds of up to 8Gbps.
Broadband speeds in the UK currently sit at 46.2Mbps according to the latest data from Ofcom, which is 173 times slower than what Virgin Media is offering these villagers in Papworth. As an example as to how fast the new speeds are, users will be able to download a 10GB Blu-ray file in just 10 seconds, compared to the paltry 28 minutes that it would take on the average broadband connection.
The trial has only been made possible through the Ethernet Passive Optical Network (Epon) equipment and new software that has been developed by networking technology supplier Arris. That’s because the rest of the network is still Virgin Media’s existing fibre-to-the-premises product, meaning it could easily be rolled out to more users if the trial is a success.
Unfortunately, it may be a while before most of us see these speeds as Virgin Media doesn’t exactly have the best history of quickly rolling out its trials to more users. Virgin Media previously trialled 1Gbps FTTP services in Papworth some five years ago, yet it’s still not a product that the vast majority of Virgin Media customers can take advantage of – even if they’re connected to the FTTP network. Despite this, Virgin Media insists that it is not going to stand still, with this trial looking ahead to the next decade and beyond.