Here in the U.K., broadband speeds vary significantly depending upon where you live. For example, those lucky enough to live in a cabled area with access to fiber optic broadband can currently enjoy speeds of up to 100Mbps. However, where I live in the little county of Worcestershire, I’m lucky if my speed reaches 6Mbps.
Rather than rolling out that super-speedy 100Mbps broadband to Killian in Worcestershire, however, Virgin Media is going to give lucky east Londoners speeds of up to 1.5Gbps instead — that’s 50% faster than Google’s 1Gbps service in Kansas City, Kansas.
The company has just started testing its DOCSIS2-powered network with a select few subscribers it dubs “triallists,” which offers download speeds of up to 240 times faster than the national average in the U.K., and upload speeds of up to 150Mbps. Those living around Old Street, an area known as ‘Silicon Roundabout’, are the first to gain access to the service, but if all goes well, it should roll out to everyone living in a cabled area.
Jon James, Virgin’s executive director of broadband said in the press release:
“As people are simultaneously connecting more gadgets to the internet and doing more online than ever before, we wanted to explore what our unique fibre optic network is capable of. At speeds of up to 1.5Gb, Virgin Media is delivering some of the fastest broadband in the world and, thanks to our ongoing investment, we’re able to anticipate and lead the way in meeting growing demand for bandwidth as future services and applications come online.”
Virgin hasn’t yet mentioned what kind of data cap it may enforce on a 1.5Gbps package, but I’m guessing it would have to be pretty generous to make it all worthwhile. At those speeds, based on my rough calculations, it would take less than a second to download an MP3, and less than 20 seconds to download a 2GB movie.
As I sit here waiting for 54 app updates to download from iTunes, which I started about an hour ago, I’m considering a move to Silicon Roundabout.