Virgin Media Testing DOCSIS Broadband at Up to 1.5 Gbps

Virgin Media, the UK’s quad-play service, will test broadband speeds up to 1.5 Gbps in east London in partnership with four end-user companies.

It said the service that offers 1.5 Gbps down and 150 Mbps up will use the same DOCSIS 3.0 infrastructure that it currently uses in is home broadband service. DOCSIS technology was developed under the oversight of CableLabs, the cablecos’ overseer of technology engineering.

Virgin Media said similar tests have already proven the capability of its broadband network to deliver download speeds of 1 Gbps using DOCSIS 3.0 technology.

All of the four companies that are testing with Virgin are in the creative industry. They use video for online and mobile streaming, producing interactive applications for the Web and custom broadcasting. The faster broadband, it said, is needed for interactive entertainment and services such as remote healthcare and online education. With petrol at $4 per gallon or £1.30 per liter and rising, the elimination of travel will bring financial benefits to consumers in addition to reducing the stress that work-related travel can cause.

Virgin Media said it has spent £13 billion of its own money — no taxpayer funds involved — to connect every home in its footprint to fiber optic network with a high-grade coaxial line. Rival BT’s infrastructure, it pointed out, remains a captive of copper and aluminum telephone wiring. Copper telephone wire will be used even in BT’s fiber-to-the-cabinet (or node) to connect homes to the cabinet. It’s an infrastructure similar to what AT&T is using.

Because of bonding downstreams and upstreams, Virgin said its network is future-proof with, theoretically, nearly infinite capacity.

Sam Orams, co-founder of, one of the companies involved in the test, said, “While the average home might not need these speeds quite yet, we certainly will. The Internet is critical to what we do and intrinsically linked to our future growth.

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