Despite the fact that we are one of the countries at the forefront of modern technology we still languish behind many smaller ones (especially those in eastern Asia) when it comes to broadband speeds, but with increasing public pressure that is slowly being changed and the latest announcements from Virgin and BT represent several steps in the right direction.
Whilst Virgin Media Broadband have this week announced that they have expanded their much-advertised 100Mbps to another 150,00 homes this merely matches BT’s news at the end of last year that they will be trialling 1Gbps broadband, speeds that have only really been available in countries like Korea.
Firstly let’s look at the news from Virgin Media and their announcement that it has rolled out it’s superfast broadband to a further five UK towns bringing the total number of homes that can access the 100Mbps speeds through Virgin to 350,000. Obviously they still have a long way to go, but the inclusion of Cheshunt, Hatfield, Pentwyn, Southport and Trefrorest bodes well for the rest of the country as it would appear their push to cover more of the country is not letting up.
The executive director of broadband at Virgin Media in fact said: “We’re racing to get these ultrafast speeds across this entire area as fast as we can to meet demand. We’ve invested many billions of private money in order to build a growing network that already passes approximately 13 million homes across the UK”
Whilst BT is somewhat lagging behind Virgin with regards to fibre optic offerings, they are still pumping money into their ambitiously named ‘Infinity’ project and are planning to trial 1Gbps broadband in Kesgrave, Suffolk later this year.
As amazing as that sounds don’t get too excited (unless you are lucky enough to live in Kesgrave: I imagine your house price may take a small boost!) as it could be some time before we see this being brought out across the UK: BT are still struggling to extend the coverage of their fibre optic infrastructure so it could be some time until we see this being rolled out.
However progress is being made with the fibre optic programme and although the details will not be announced till later this year, BT have said that that they will be rolling out ‘superfast’ broadband (i.e. fibre optic) to 40 ‘rural market towns’:
“These areas will be able to enjoy the benefits of the technology from late 2011/early 2012. BT plans to announce the next list of exchanges in January 2011.”
Personally I can’t wait to get superfast broadband in the semi-rural area where I live: on a good day I can receive 1800 Kbps, and that is fairly average for this area. Of course it is unlikely that we will actually need Gigabit speeds soon (I imagine we would be happy enough with consistent 1.5 Mbps so we can watch iPlayer) but as BT’s director of strategy said, it is important to keep pushing forwards:
“While everyday consumers don’t require Gigabit speeds today, it’s important that we test the maximum speed capabilities of our fibre broadband product to ensure that it is fully future proofed. Furthermore, by evolving our deployment model for fibre we have been able to push the geographical boundaries of super-fast broadband. It allows us to build a commercial case for rolling out fibre to selected towns in rural areas to satisfy the growing appetite for faster broadband speeds.”
So good news for internet-speed lovers, no we just have to wait and hope!
Via – Cable.co.uk