While there are some broadband start-ups that leverage their own full-fibre cables to offer breathtaking speeds, like HyperOptic, Community Fibre, GigaNet, and more, these remain quite localised. While some are rapidly expanding, they don’t offer anywhere near the same footprint as BT, Sky and TalkTalk.
But while broadband companies with the most coverage are able to compete on price, bundles, and freebies …since they are all reliant on the same cables from Openreach, they’re unable to beat one another on speed. And that’s where Virgin Media-O2 wants to offer something new.
Openreach currently has some 4.5 million premises connected with its next-generation gigabit-capable fibre broadband. In comparison, Virgin Media is on track to connect 15 million homes by the end of this year. Following the appointment of a CEO for the new joint Virgin Media-O2 firm, superfast broadband connection to an extra one million premises before Christmas 2021 was also promised, bringing the total to 16 million homes.
BT, Sky, and Virgin Media customers now get MORE compensation
Ofcom intends to consult on this new request until May 10, 2021.
Should the proposal get the go-ahead, it does seem like the chess pieces are starting to come together for Virgin Media-O2 to truly challenge Openreach. More competition is likely to be a good thing for customers. If new broadband providers are able to piggyback on the full-fibre cabling already buried under streets across the UK, they have the ability to scale much quicker.
Some tipsters suggest one of the first partners to leverage Virgin Media’s super-fast network will be Sky. The company has previously announced ambitions to offer its Sky Q telly bundle over a broadband connection – so there’s no need to drill a satellite dish to the outside of your home to tune-in to its selection of paid-for channels, movies and sports fixtures. However, these plans have gone quiet since the initial announcement back in 2017.
With millions of home connected with gigabit-capable broadband (that’s around 15x faster than the average home broadband connection in the UK right now) Sky might soon be able to realise its four-year-old plan.
Gigabit-capable connections provide speeds up to 1,000Mbps. Given that Netflix only recommends 5Mbps for High Definition streaming and 25Mbps for 4K quality video, these future-proofed broadband connections are more than enough to handle working from home, videoconferencing, boxset binges at the weekend, catch-up of live broadcasts, downloading updates to smartphones and games on next-generation video game consoles, and uploading back-ups.
Glacial home internet speeds continue to be a problem – something the requirements to work from home and stay inside during the national lockdowns has thrown into relief. According to research published in September 2020 by Cable.co.uk, shows the UK is now 47th when it comes to downloads with an average speed of 37.82Mbps. At that rate, it should take roughly 15 minutes to download a feature-length movie in High Definition (HD).
The UK manages to trump 174 other countries globally but falls way behind 46 other nations in the speed league, including 21 in Western Europe. This puts the UK among the slowest in Europe when it comes to average broadband speed. To make matters worse, Britain has lost ground since measurements were taken back in 2019.
“As shown by the domination of smaller countries and regions at the top of the table – Liechtenstein, Jersey, Andorra, Gibraltar – it is obviously far easier to upgrade a country or territory to full-fibre the smaller it happens to be. However, the UK still finds itself a long way behind many nations of equal or greater size. Ultimately, the UK, specifically Openreach, is comparatively late in its rollout of pure fibre networks, which is causing the UK to stagnate, while other nations gain ground.”
Of course, the latest plans from the Virgin Media-O2 joint venture and rapid expansion of its full-fibre network could change that. To find out what the merger could mean for existing Virgin Media and O2 customers, read our in-depth analysis.
This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed