Virgin Media O2 customers could be set for a major broadband speed boost

Fibre optics
(Image credit: Daniel Chetroni / Getty Images)

Virgin Media O2 has trialled 2.2Gbps fibre broadband in Edinburgh and Birmingham using its existing cable network.

The achieved transmission rate is double that of the company’s fastest commercially available speeds of 1.13Gbps and 43 times the national average.

The firm has pledged to rollout gigabit connectivity across its entire footprint of 15.5 million homes by the end of 2021 and has already reached 12.8 million.

Virgin Media O2 gigabit

This proof-of-concept demonstrates the futureproof nature of its network and how it can deliver speed upgrades without the need for major construction work.

“We are on a mission to upgrade the UK and our continued network investment is helping ensure our infrastructure is not only fit for today, but fit for the future,” said Jeanie York, Virgin Media O2 CTO.

“As the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider, we’re always looking to go further and faster. With our latest multi-gigabit trial in Birmingham and Edinburgh, we’re putting this commitment to innovation into action, demonstrating the true power of our network and getting ready for the technology of tomorrow.”

Once this current upgrade is completed, Virgin Media O2 plans to go even further as part of a £10 billion, five-year investment. By 2028, the entirety of the Virgin Media O2 network will be powered by Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology that could support ‘symmetrical’ upload and download speeds of 10Gbps.

The fact that its network is fully ducted means the installation of fibre should be simpler and more cost-effective than similar rollouts.

CEO Lutz Schüler has previously spoken of his desire to establish Virgin Media O2 as a genuine converged challenger to BT-EE, capable of offering services that combine 5G and fibre for seamless connectivity.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.