Virgin Media is bringing its supercharged gigabit broadband speed to Wales for the first time. Hundreds of thousands of homes across Cardiff and South Wales will now benefit from average speeds of 1,140Mbps. That’s around 18 times faster than the average connection speeds across the UK. With the new broadband speeds coming to Wales, Virgin Media has now switched on gigabit speed in all four of the UK’s capital cities.
As millions of us continue to work, study and socialise from home, Britain’s average broadband speeds have been thrown into the limelight. Britain already has some of the worst average download speeds in mainland Europe, something Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged to fix – until the £5 billion war chest set aside to upgrade the infrastructure shrunk to £2 billion earlier this month.
The new target set by the Government is to bring gigabit speeds to a minimum of 85 percent of all UK premises by 2025. To date, Virgin Media has switched on gigabit connectivity to more than 7 million homes, making it the UK’s largest gigabit provider, with a plan to bring these next-generation speeds to its entire network by the end of 2021. As a result, Virgin Media will single-handedly contribute almost two-thirds of the Government’s minimum broadband ambition four years ahead of the target.
While a gigabit-capable connection isn’t strictly necessary right now. For comparison, Netflix suggests a minimum of 5Mbps for High Definition or 25Mbps for Ultra HD video. So, you can imagine how many simultaneous Ultra HD streams can be running in your home before you notice a hint of a stutter or buffering (for the record, it’s 45 simultaneous streams). However, these supercharged speeds will be useful when the next-generation of technology arrives, like 8K streaming, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) apps, video game streaming, or downloads for the latest generation of consoles, like hefty PS5 game updates and more.
And given that broadband data use increases tenfold every seven years or so, the arrival of these innovative technologies will arrive sooner rather than later.
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Cardiff is joined by homes across South Wales in Virgin Media’s latest gigabit switch-on. Other areas set to benefit from the 1,140Mbps speeds include Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “Virgin Media’s investment in Cardiff, making the Welsh capital its next Gigabit city, is great news for residents and businesses. As we seek to recover from the pandemic, it’s clear that telecommunications and connectivity will become even more vital. This investment will see Cardiff have some of the fastest broadband speeds in the world which can only help businesses and people working from home.”
Those who sign-up to Gig1 with Virgin Media will benefit from all-new Hub 4. Redesigned from the ground-up, Virgin Media said it built the Hub 4 to deliver gigabit speeds inside the home. To beam more than 1,000Mbps throughout the home, Virgin Media has fitted the router with more antennas than the Hub 3 to offer a more reliable connection around your home.
That should help to eliminate any connection dead zones around the home too, the firm has stated. Those additional antennas should also ensure the Hub 4 is better at juggling more devices – handy if you’ve got a large family, or a home brimming with smart home kit, connected speakers, and more.
Existing customers will be able to install the new router themselves since there’s no need for anything invasive like drilling holes in the wall to get the faster speeds. The new router makes use of Virgin Media’s next-generation broadband technology, known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it plans to deploy across its entire cable network over time.
Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said: “At a time when our services play a vital role in supporting people’s lives and powering the economy, Virgin Media is continuing to invest and as a result our gigabit footprint is growing like gangbusters. With our latest switch-on in Wales today, all four UK countries and capital cities can now benefit from our next-generation connectivity and the rest of our network will follow suit next year. Whether people are working from home, learning online, video calling friends and family, or binging on a box set in 4K, with Gig1, they’ll be able to do it all at the same time without worry or delay.”
Virgin Media’s network currently passes more than 15 million UK premises. Virgin Media, through its Project Lightning programme, is also continuing to expand its ultrafast network to more homes and businesses across the UK. More than 2.4 million additional premises have been passed since the project began.