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6,900 Homes in Dronfield Covered by Virgin Media UK’s FTTP

Monday, October 26th, 2020 (2:00 pm) - Score 5,136

Some 6,900 homes in the North East Derbyshire town of Dronfield have just become the latest to benefit from the expansion of Virgin Media’s new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network, although initially locals will only be able to access a top speed of 516Mbps (average) until the future DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade completes.

The deployment forms part of the operator’s £3bn Project Lightning build, which originally aimed to add an additional 4 million premises to their UK coverage by 2020 but has so far only completed 2.3 million. Most of the operator’s existing network was deployed using Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC), but recent builds tend to use FTTP via Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG) – both methods make use of the DOCSIS standard so as to harness the same consumer hardware.

Meanwhile Virgin Media is also rolling out their latest DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade across the United Kingdom, which by the end of 2021 aims to have made download speeds of 1Gbps+ possible across their entire network (here). Outside of those areas you can expect average speeds of up to 516Mbps from their existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 based packages, which will soon rise to 600Mbps via their top Ultimate Oomph TV bundle.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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17 Responses
  1. Gary333 says:

    Apologies if you have detailed this in an article in the past, but what is actually needed in the “average” / most common (equipment) VM areas to make the upgrade from 3.0 – 3.1 possible?

    I’ve think i’ve seen people mentioning the licensing model being expensive for 3.1. Is this leading to artificial rather than technological reasons for gig1 being rolled out slowly to begin with so they can roll operational costs in to another financial year?

    1. A_Builder says:

      I’m no VM fan but they are now committed to 3.1: they have to be now OR are committed to 1G FTTP.

      One of the previous reasons was the high cost of the V4 modem router.

    2. Gary333 says:

      You would think that if it was the router bumping the costs up, that they would just simply make a charge for it. In areas where people have no other options (other than VM) it would unlikely to be a hard sell to charge £25-£49, either that or pass it on as a “connection charge”.

  2. Phil says:

    Is that still with an atrocious mis-matched upload speed of 50Meg? Hardly befitting of a FTTP 1 Gig product. Granted Openreach are similar with a much slower upload than the download speed but at least on their 1Gig packages its a more respectable 110Meg.

    With the uptake in home working upload speeds need to be sorted out, just selling a product on big download speeds is very misleading.

    1. Gary333 says:

      Although it might not be an exactly great upload, it is not in any way misleading. One the first page for Gig1 it says:

      “Play hard and stream your gameplay at the same time, with upload speeds averaging 52Mbps – 6x faster than the UK’s average upload speeds – and zero traffic management.”

    2. Archie says:

      We’d all prefer faster uploads but 52 meg up is hardly awful… I’m uploading gigabytes worth of audio/video files on a regular basis on 40 meg up and it certainly doesn’t feel slow. In addition, I’ve had 5 people streaming using PLEX, full HD with no issues.

    3. Oberoth says:

      I totally agree Phil, I wouldn’t even look at Virgin until they sort out their upload speeds.

      Especially when Vodafone (through CityFibre) offer 900Mbps up and down for pretty much the same price.

      If you have a 100GB video to upload on CityFibre it would take just under 16 mins, on Virgin it would take over 4 and half HOURS!!!

  3. Matthew says:

    In fairness Virgin have already started trialing DOCSIS 3.1 upload as well so expect it will start happening once the download rollout has finished.

  4. Will says:

    Is VM currently upgrading their FTTP via Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG)from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1? How much does the upload speed change by this upgrade?

  5. JD says:

    Have to laugh. Article says “Only 516MB” speed, as though it is going to be a problem. That speed is going to satisfy much more than the required usage of 99% of that population mentioned. For the average domestic household 516 MB will not be required in any shape or form for several years. The average household will more than survive on only100MB/sec and that would be a household with Simultaneously a couple of kids independently using gaming consoles, a couple of 4K movies also being streamed and someone working from home in zoom conf calls. There are a few techno geeks on here all desperate to show their knowledge, and apart from this very small fraction of the population this is of absolutely no issue to the majority. Seriously, how many average households are going to use/need 1GB Down&Up?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      You’re taking it all a bit too literally, that’s merely a reflection of the fact that VM’s network is deploying a 1Gbps upgrade. It’s not “only” as an absolute or criticism, just as a contextual comparator.

      And it’s Mb not MB.

    2. A_Builder says:

      The upstream will become an issue as it is more contended than you might think.

      Certainly more contended than OR GFast products – I’m speaking from experience!

      OK 3.1 upstream will mitigate this and this is now on the flight path – has to be as OR can do better upstream.

      Once all the major players are doing 1G down the battle ground is

      -upstream performance

    3. JD says:

      Contextual or not, for both yourself and also the respondents in the thread, Is this going to be any problem for average users?

      Think of your entire extended family Brothers, sisters,aunts,uncle’s, any of their progeny; Then add in all your neighbors in the street you live in ; Then add in all the extended workers in your place of employment ; then add in any friends at gyms etc…. Is the limitations of 516 Mb going to place any problems whatsoever on this population?.

      For the contributors on this thread I.T. consultants/Computer engineers/Support engs would even 50Mb-Up impose a serious limitation on the work you perform?. What type of employment has you uploading Gbits files every hour?

  6. Techman says:

    I got this. Previously had fttc from BT at a whopping 11mb. So this is a very welcome roll out by Virgin. The speeds and latency have been great so far, no lag or slowdown. Loads in the town have moved over to Virgin so BT’s loss is their gain

  7. Gorby Kray says:

    We had Virgin rip up the roads around our neighbourhood for FTTP ducts and cabinet installations around March 2018. After numerous inquiries they still won’t give any date for going live in our area. Do they normally take almost 3 years to “switch on” their networks? Just seems bizarre! Also, I guess after Virgin having done their bit the chances of going for FTTP with OR are now nil?

    1. Litlephil says:

      No i don’t think : years u be getting pallets soon so I say January as have u ever seen in a VM cabinet talk about AMA spaghetti junction. So now the one done times two eginires have to wire them all up in to each house even if ur not on so that’s the time patience DNS’s when it comes there b no going bk been with nine 33 years no faults

  8. Litlephil says:

    Also people are in about gig 1 speeds me personally think this is to overwhelming for a household but offices this could be a step to more for virgin. And as virgin and 0/ merge they have stated 10 billion unlike other networks it’s all private investment it will also give virgin a mobile mast system of its own and 02 a fiver tv broadband and land line so this will be a good thing wether they change the name ‍♂️ As both popular but virgin media/02 or other wsy. They need something gripping and I think things can only get better my opinion

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