Virgin Media steers 1.5Gbps broadband to London's Silicon Roundabout

We feel the need... the need for speed. And so does Virgin Media, which is wiring up offices with headspinningly fast 1.5Gbps broadband.

We feel the need... the need for speed. And so does Virgin Media, which is wiring up offices with headspinningly fast 1.5Gbps broadband. That's one and a half gigabits per second -- equivalent to an entire hi-def movie in less than a minute.

Virgin is running a trial of the eyewatering service in east London, providing four companies with an Internet connection so fast it'd make Lewis Hamilton need a little sitdown.

Now obviously 1Gbps broadband is beyond the call of duty for even the most intensive of Web users, but the 1.5Gbps download and 150Mbps upload service is being piped into four companies for "online and mobile video streaming, producing interactive applications for the Web and bespoke broadcasting services for live programmes and events".

Marketing agency is one of the companies in the trial, which is connected to the hipsterish Old Street area of east London nicknamed Silicon Roundabout. It's the ironically moustachioed home of numerous technology startups such as , TweetDeck and Songkick.

Virgin currently offers a 100Mbps service to homes and businesses across the country. The ultrafast trial makes that service look like a pensioner shuffling down to the post office to pick up their gyro, but actually uses the same Internet pipes.

The trial uses the existing infrastructure and technology, which has previously been tested to reach speeds as high as 1Gbps. The point of the trial is to highlight Virgin's claims that the DOCSIS technology used throughout the network provides a future-proofed platform with "theoretically near-infinite capacity".

So the trial is a publicity wheeze and a proof-of-concept rather than a precursor to actually launching such a service. But if it works, it will show just how outdated Britain's copper-based network is. Fortunately, it looks as though we'll have more fibre-optic options in coming years, with BT Infinity joining Virgin's fast service, and Fujitsu planning to connect 5 million rural homes .

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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