An initial 12 homes in Greenham on the edge of Newbury, Berkshire have been connected with 1Gbps download and 150Mbps upload trial speeds.
The trial is using high-capacity millimetre wave radio technology from Ericsson to connect two points over 3 kilometres with a 10Gbps signal.
Residents are connected directly with fibre and use Virgin Media’s Hub 3.0 router and V6 set-top box.
Jeanie York, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Virgin Media said: “As we invest to expand our ultrafast network we’re always looking at new, innovative ways to make build more efficient and connect premises that might currently be out of reach. While presently this is a trial, it’s clear that this technology could help to provide more people and businesses with the better broadband they deserve.”
By minimising disruption and avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive civil engineering work, this wireless backhaul has the potential to reduce trunk network build costs by up to 90%. The reduction could help make it viable to connect premises previously deemed too costly or logistically challenging such as rural areas and apartment blocks. The connectivity could also be used to help connect mobile providers and business customers.
While just 12 homes have so far trialled the technology, the 10Gbps radio link can sustainably support delivery of residential services to 500 homes when considering a 40% average annual growth in data consumption. Following configuration changes, the radio link can be upgraded to support a 20Gbps connection – meaning 2,000 homes could comfortably be connected in one area.
A 3km wireless distance is currently the optimal target to guarantee reliability in all weathers, however these radios can be chained together and used back-to-back which increases the range and scope of connectivity without compromising capacity or availability.