The operator’s network currently mainly utilises Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) technology but also some Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) via Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG). The network is currently being upgraded to support the DOCSIS 3.1 standard which is due to complete by the end of this year and should handle a peak theoretical download speed of up to 10Gbps and uploads of around 1.5Gbps.
Looking towards the future of its UK network, Virgin Media has a choice between upgrading its network to the shiny new DOCSIS 4.0, that boosts upstream capacity to 6Gbps, or go full-fibre.
Last year, Mike Fries, CEO of Virgin Media’s owner, Liberty Global, said:
“When we look at our networks, we’ve got a couple of ways to get there with DOCSIS 4.0, where we would fall right in line with the US operators, Charter and Comcast, both of whom would be pursuing a strategy like that.
And we could also use FTTP, CSPON, where we have, we think, the economics to support that kind of roadmap to 10G.”
Virgin Media says that 1.3 million homes currently have full access to its full-fibre service. Virgin have forecasted that by 2028, around 13 million additional homes will be covered. The company says FTTP is “capable of delivering symmetrical 10Gbps download and upload speeds, and beyond.”
Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, stated: “Our mission is to upgrade the UK, and we are doing exactly that. This major new fibre upgrade programme will see us begin the next evolution of our network, building on the investment, firepower and leadership we already have and ensuring we’re fibre fit for the future.”
“Right now, we have the UK’s leading gigabit network, and this upgrade means we’ll be even stronger for the decades ahead, pursuing new opportunities and putting words into action.”