Virgin Media is trialling the UK’s fastest home broadband after successfully testing a connection offering speeds of more than 8Gbps to homes in Papworth, Cambridgeshire.

The hyperfast connection uses Virgin Media’s existing fibre network to provide download speeds more than 200 times faster the UK average.

The trial, made possible through continued network investment and collaboration with Liberty Global, is delivered using an existing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection meaning that no dedicated line is required.

The connection supports simultaneous upload and download speeds of more than 8Gbps.

The six-month trial is expected to connect 50 homes in Papworth.

Richard Sinclair, Executive Director of Connectivity at Virgin Media, said: “As the UK’s fastest widely available broadband provider, we’re committed to making Britain faster and this trial pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.

“Whether it’s streaming UHD movies on Netflix, playing the latest games online or video conferencing, faster internet connections have changed our lives immeasurably over the past decade. As speed leaders, Virgin Media is not going to stand still; this trial is about looking ahead to the next decade and beyond.

“With the volume of our customers’ internet usage almost doubling every year, trials like this will ensure we have the capability to meet the demand of data-hungry services in the future – be that over cable or full fibre.”

Applied futurist, Tom Cheesewright, who has reviewed the trial said: “Each new leap in internet speeds has spurred a new round of innovation in digital services. Today we are just starting to glimpse the immersive communication and entertainment opportunities that speeds like this will enable, bringing the physical and digital worlds together into a rich, interactive environment.”

The connection speed was tested and independently

verified by Ofcom’s technical partner, SamKnows, who fast tracked the development of a brand new speed testing tool specifically designed to test multi-gigabit connections.

In this trial data is transferred along fibre optic cables using EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) technology – a global point-to-point network standard.

EPON is typically used to deliver up to 1Gbps speeds to UK homes, but Virgin Media has been working with technology partner, ARRIS, to trial new equipment and software to increase the speeds that its residential fibre network is capable of delivering.

With this connection speed users can:

  • download a high-definition film of 5GB in five seconds
  • download an ultra-high definition 4k film of 20GB in 20 seconds
  • download a video game of 99GB in less than two minutes
  • upload 300 high resolution photos totalling 3GB in three seconds

Virgin Media, through backing from its parent company Liberty Global, is currently investing billions of pounds to expand its network to millions more homes and businesses as part of its Project Lightning expansion programme.

Virgin Media has the largest gigabit-capable network in the UK which currently passes more than 14 million premises. The network consists of both fibre-rich cable and fibre connected directly to premises.