Virgin Media recently trialled the use of wireless radio signals to help connect homes in a Newbury village to gigabit speeds and TV services over full fibre - a first in the UK.
The innovative trial, led by Virgin Media's parent company, Liberty Global and using Ericsson radio technology, has made use of high-capacity millimetre wave radio technology to connect two “trunk” points over 3 kilometres with a 10Gbps signal. The signal is then converted within a cabinet and services are ultimately delivered to premises over a full fibre connection.
Virgin Media has started by initially connecting 12 homes in Greenham, located just on the edge of the market town of Newbury. These homes are currently receiving reliable 1Gbps download and 150Mbps upload trial speeds alongside the full line-up of TV services from Virgin Media. Residents are connected directly with fibre and use Virgin Media’s Hub 3.0 router and V6 set-top box.
By minimising disruption and avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive civil engineering work, this wireless backhaul could mean that trunk network build costs are reduced by up to 90%. This reduction could help make it viable to connect premises previously deemed too costly or logistically challenging such as rural areas and apartment blocks. The connectivity could also be used to help connect mobile providers and business customers.