Feeds

Virgin Media to trial IPTV off-cable network

Fibre optic Cornwall trial

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Virgin Media will trial delivering its TV and broadband services via copper phone lines as part of plans to expand its footprint beyond the cable network laid in the 1990s.

The firm will run a small trial in Cornwall in partnership with fibre optics firm Vtesse Networks this winter.

Residents of Higher Pill, in Saltash, and nearby Hatt will be offered free broadband at up to 50Mbit/s downstream via a VDSL2+ line to a roadside cabinet. The cabinets will be linked to Virgin Media backhaul via new fibre laid by Vtesse Networks.

Cornwall's role as the main landing point for transatlantic communications means there is no shortage of trunk cables nearby to hook into, although for this the trial BT's local exchange - 5km away -will be used.

As well as broadband, Virgin Media plans to offer its full range of TV services, including high definition and on demand, over the new infrastructure.

The trial is part funded by NGN Kernow, a consortium of large firms led by Babcock International who have invested in Cornwall.

Vtesse Networks CEO Aidan Paul said: "Subject to the satisfactory completion of these trials and to a supportive regulatory policy, our analysis indicates that it could be feasible to roll-out similar capability to as many as two million homes and small businesses in current ultra-fast 'not-spots' across the country.

"Instead of speculating on the economics we thought we'd go ahead and do it for real."

BT's currently plans to upgrade 40 per cent of its national network to a similar fibre-to-the-cabinet, VDSL2+ service by 2012. But the investment is targeted at densely populated areas where the return will be highest.

Published in June, the government's Digital Britain report announced a 50 pence per month tax on every land line, a way of subsidising other firms to roll out faster broadband infrastructure to areas BT isn't interested in. Vtesse and Virgin Media's Cornwall trial is an early example of the type of regional project that the subsidies are expected to go to.

It also indicates Virgin Media's desire to expand beyond its cable network, which covers about half of premises nationally, mostly in cities. It was laid at a cost of billions, which has yet to be recouped, and digging new trenches isn't on the agenda. The firm is however on the lookout for opportunities to increase its footprint at low cost.

Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media said: "This demonstrates our ambition to extend our next generation services to areas outside our traditional cable TV footprint."

Theoretically, Virgin Media could in future expand outside the cable network by buying wholesale access to BT's fibre-to-the-cabinet network, but this is likely to be a comparatively expensive option. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.