Virgin Media is trailing 8Gbps broadband speeds in a village in Cambridgeshire, more than 200 times faster than the national average for the UK.
The village of Papworth Everard, which lies 10 miles west of Cambridge, has been selected as the testing location for 8Gbps broadband speed. Eight households are currently involved in this trial, but Virgin Media plan to expand this to 50 homes over time.
With the ever-increasing demand for fast connections, providers are looking at ways to prepare for the future. While currently these speeds are considered unnecessary by many, in the coming years they will be inevitable to keep up with the increase of internet-connected devices around the home.
8Gbps download and upload speeds would allow users to:
- Download a 5GB high-definition film in five seconds
- Download a 20GB 4k ultra-high definition film in twenty seconds
- Download a 99GB video game in under two minutes
- Upload 3GB worth of high-quality photos (around 300) in three seconds
Virgin Media are currently the provider of the fastest broadband to customers in the UK, with Richard Sinclair, Executive Director of Connectivity, saying: “As the UK’s fastest widely available broadband provider, we’re committed to making Britain faster and this trial pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.”
These tests are around 216 times faster than the UK average, and so the connection is much faster than most are used to. To compare, on the 8Gbps connection 3GB of high-resolution photos will take only three seconds to upload, rather than 1 hour and 10 minutes on an average connection.
Even with this innovation, 10% of homes across the UK still do not have access to the internet at all. In addition to this, of those homes with an internet connection, 26% are not getting the minimum speeds needed.
The media regulator, Ofcom, defines the lowest speeds required for a modern household as 10Mbps. This is 800 times less than the new speeds being tested by Virgin Media, but still over a quarter of premises are not reaching this standard.
This advancement by Virgin Media is focussed around the future, though, as they are using existing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections. Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) technology is being advanced to carry faster speeds along the existing fibre lines. Therefore, a dedicated line is not required, and infrastructure is not widely affected. Without digging roads and laying new cables, a large cost is saved and that saving is expected to be passed to consumers when this technique becomes more widespread.
This test is similar to one from last February, where internet provider Hyperoptic conducted tests to reach 10Gbps in a house in London’s former Olympic village. Hyperoptic have been at the forefront of broadband innovation, being the first to reach 1Gbps download speeds in the UK back in 2011.
Even still, the UK is far behind many other nations across the world in terms of average broadband speeds. The UK was recently ranked 35th in the world for broadband speeds, with Singapore taking the top spot.
In 2011, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany reached connection speeds of around 26 terabits per second. At that speed, every file could be transferred from a 3TB hard drive in less than a second. This setup used a single fibre laser, so was not practical for general use.
However, in 2014 a joint research team from Alcatel-Lucent and BT created the fastest ‘real-world’ internet connection, using a 410km-stretch of fibre optic cable. The speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were reached along the connection which spanned from the BT Tower in central London to a BT research campus on the western outskirts of Ipswich in Suffolk.
Only time will tell how far domestic broadband speeds will advance, and how quickly this will become widespread. However, if your business premises are struggling with a slow internet connection, get in touch to find out how we can help to improve your speeds.