Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Virgin Media Trials FREE 166Mbps WiFi Under Pavements in Chesham

Thursday, October 15th, 2015 (12:01 am) - Score 2,361
smart_pavement_wifi

A few months ago we reported that Virgin Media were planning to roll-out a new network of FREE public WiFi Hotspots (here) around the UK and today we might be getting our first glimpse of that strategy as the operator begins installing wireless access points under the pavements in central Chesham (Buckinghamshire, England).

The town is home to more than 21,000 people and apparently some residents are already reporting impressive WiFi speeds of up to 166Mbps (Megabits per second) in the town centre, although the new “Smart Pavement” network also extends out to parts of Lowndes Park.

Ordinarily most operators prefer to install WiFi access points above ground, not least because it helps the 2.4GHz signal to propagate, but telecoms infrastructure owners like Virgin Media have a lot of manholes around the place that can also be used (makes it easier to tap directly into their core capacity links) and apparently this approach can still cover an area of up to 80 metres.

virgin media wifi hidden under a manhole

The use of a submerged rainproof access point, which sits beneath a specially developed resin cover, is certainly a different twist on the usual deployments. Never the less Virgin Media are also using plenty of traditional access points too, which have been discreetly installed on local street furniture.

Gregor McNeil, Managing Director of Consumer at Virgin Media, said:

Not only is this the first time we’ve built metropolitan WiFi directly from our street cabinets, it is also the UK’s first deployment of a WiFi connected pavement. It is literally public WiFi under your feet. We want to build more networks like this across the UK and encourage more forward thinking councils just like Chesham to get in touch.”

Isobel Darby, Chiltern District Council Leader, said:

It’s been a privilege to be part of this pilot and exciting for one of our communities to be involved in this pioneering work, which has the potential to change the way individuals and businesses access and use WiFi in the future.”

At present there are no public roll-out plans for future deployments, although now is the perfect time to do it since the cable operator is busy with the expansion of their network to reach 17 million premises by 2020 (around 60% UK coverage) and preparing future upgrades (DOCSIS3.1) to support faster broadband speeds.

On top of that they’re also experimenting with a BT FON style approach, which turns their customers’ cable broadband routers (SuperHubs) into public WiFi hotspots so that other subscribers can access the Internet when nearby (here). Admittedly Virgin are playing a game of catch-up on this front, but better late than never and strong competition is always welcome.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred

    Good idea , I like the submerged WAP’s. It certainly makes sense to deploy on high streets.

  2. Avatar DTMark

    Isn’t there a bit of an issue here, though – I thought the cable network tended not to loop through and around high streets and town centres since the cable network was built as a residential TV service, this being why there’s often little or no choice of infra provider at business premises.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £19.95 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPER20
  • NOW TV £22.00 (*40.00)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • SSE £22.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.95
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2698)
  2. FTTP (2547)
  3. FTTC (1745)
  4. Building Digital UK (1685)
  5. Politics (1580)
  6. Openreach (1545)
  7. Business (1366)
  8. FTTH (1287)
  9. Statistics (1193)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1161)
  11. Fibre Optic (1037)
  12. 4G (1001)
  13. Wireless Internet (989)
  14. Ofcom Regulation (987)
  15. Virgin Media (963)
  16. EE (668)
  17. Sky Broadband (651)
  18. TalkTalk (634)
  19. Vodafone (629)
  20. 5G (464)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact