Today Virgin Media announced plans to continue its research into delivering super fast broadband over telegraph poles in a pilot scheme taking place in the Welsh village of Crumlin.
The trial promises to make quite a difference to the community. Not least because it will increase speeds for denizens of the village, who previously relied on traditional copper cabling, around ten-fold to 50Mb.
They’ll also have the opportunity to liven up their evenings with Virgin Media's TV service, including around 5,000 hours of catch up TV and on demand content.
Virgin has some form here, of course. Earlier this year it announced a similar trial in Woolhampton. But the difference is that while that used a custom-built network of poles, the Crumlin experiment relies on the existing set of poles currently managed by Surf Telecoms.
Consequently it’s got the potential to slash costs. And could yet prove a vital method of delivery as the government and providers work together to bring fast, reliable broadband to areas where low population density means that it’s hitherto been unviable.
Jon James, executive director of broadband, Virgin Media, said: “We’re already bringing broadband speeds of up to 50Mb and, soon 100Mb, to over half of all UK homes and are pushing the boundaries to ensure that homes right across the UK benefit from ultrafast broadband.
“Working in partnership with companies like Surf Telecoms, we can more rapidly and efficiently expand the reach of fibre optic networks to towns, villages and communities right across the UK.”
Whether Virgin Media’s approach is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for isn’t yet wholly apparent. But the column inches it’s garnered will be a boon for the provider. Especially since it comes on the same day that it’s topped today’s Ofcom study into transparency over broadband speeds.