Virgin Media turns on first gigabit broadband service

posted on Monday, 30th September 2019 by Steve May

Broadcast  Broadband  8K  4K  Streaming 

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Virgin Media’s new Gig1 broadband service, able to deliver gigabit speeds, is now live in Southampton, serving 100,000 premises. This is the first UK city to benefit from the service. The hyperfast Gig1 service offers an average peak-time download speed of 1,104Mbps and an upload speed of 52Mbps.

Virgin Media says it plans to bring these speeds to its entire broadband network (15m premises) by the end of 2021. Gig1 also sees the launch of Virgin Media’s new Hub 4 router, which makes use of the operator’s next generation broadband technology.

The Hub 4 is powered by an Intel Puma 7 chipset and supports the wave 2 802.11ac WiFi standard. It offers 3x3 MIMO on the 2.4GHz band and 4x4 MIMO on the 5GHz frequency.

With improved WiFi hardware, the Hub 4 can manage multiple devices at the same time around the home. The new router makes use of the operator’s next generation broadband technology, known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it will deploy across its entire cable network over time.

Virgin media says another major UK city will follow in the coming weeks. It says that as broadband data use increases tenfold every 7 years, this service will provide the connectivity needed for future applications like 8K streaming, cloud gaming and virtual reality telepresence, without the need to excavate roads and streets to install new cables.

“By launching our hyperfast Gig1 services in Southampton today, we’re marking the start of next-generation gigabit connectivity across our entire network at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else,” says Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media. “This service is more than 20 times faster than the UK’s average broadband speed, meaning that households can do everything they want to do online, at the same time, without delay and are well set for whatever comes next. The Government has called for nationwide gigabit connectivity and we’re helping them leap forward to reach this ambition.”

Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport adds: "It is fantastic Southampton will benefit from Virgin's investment and progress is being made to get gigabit-capable connectivity right across the UK.”

Gig1 broadband is available to new and existing customers and can be packaged with or without telephone, TV and mobile services, with prices starting at £62 per month on an 18 month contract. Customers taking the new service will also benefit from a guaranteed price freeze for at least 24 months.

Customers taking Gig1 will benefit from Virgin Media’s new and best ever equipped gigabit capable router – the Hub 4. The new router is Virgin Media’s fastest to date and features improved WiFi hardware to provide speedy and reliable connectivity throughout customers’ homes.

The Hub 4 boasts more antennae than its predecessor, the Hub 3, meaning it can manage multiple devices at the same time around the home which can all share the hyperfast speed.

The new router makes use of the operator’s next generation broadband technology, known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it will deploy across its entire cable network over time.

This announcement follows gigabit deployments across the European footprint of Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global. UPC Switzerland and Telenet in Belgium have both recently upgraded their networks with gigabit speeds which followed 12 cities in Poland and three in Slovakia earlier this year.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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