Published: 07.49 Europe/London, April 20, 2011

Virgin's 50 Mbps modem (VisMedia)

Virgin Media has said it will shortly commence the trial of broadband speeds running at 1.5 Gbps, in what will be the world’s fastest cable broadband connection ever tested. The DOCSIS 3 trials will take place in Old Street, London, in an area dubbed ‘Silicon Roundabout’.

All four companies are involved in the creative industries and work extensively with video for online and mobile streaming, producing interactive applications for the web and bespoke broadcasting services for live programmes and events.

The 1.5 Gbps download and 150 Mbps upload service is equal to more than 240 times faster than the national average broadband. Similar technology tests have already proven the capability of cable to deliver download speeds of 1 Gbps.

“Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously,” said Jon James, executive director of broadband, Virgin Media. “Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time, ensuring Virgin Media business and residential customers continue to enjoy world-class broadband.”

Virgin customers are increasingly looking towards higher speeds. 39% of new subscribers in the first quarter of 2011 ordered speeds of 200 Mbps or higher, compared to 15% one year ago.

Over 860,000 customers now subscribe to tiers of 20 Mbps or above, which together represent 21% of the cable broadband base.

150,000 customers are on the 50 Mbps tier, twice as many as one year ago, and a 33% increase since the year-end. There are no figures for the new 100 Mbps, currently being rolled out across the Virgin footprint.

In total Virgin has 4,061,000 broadband cable customers.