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Virgin Media Testing 200Mbps Cable Broadband

Telecommunication giant Virgin Media has announced that it will begin testing a superfast 200Mbps broadband service in Ashford Kent.

Up to 100 lucky customers have been chosen to take part in the trial that will run until the end of the year (ed: maybe the same customers who first tasted 50Mbps bliss back in 2007). Virgin Media will study how the guinea pigs will be using their ultrafast broadband services and pointed out that one of the main issues was to find mainstream wireless routers that can transfer data at this speed.

The fastest 802.11n wireless router can only move data wirelessly at only 125Mbps - that's the theoretical limit. As for its current XXL 50Mbps service, Virgin Media will be implementing the same DOCSIS 3.0 technology and when it will come into operation, will be the fastest such system in the world.

Virgin Media chief executive officer Neil Berkett said in a statement that "With the only true next generation network in the UK, we’re at the forefront of innovation and understanding when it comes to ultrafast broadband services and the 200Mb pilot will give us further insight into how true ‘wideband’ services might be used by consumers."

In Japan and the US of A, DOCSIS rollouts are "only" reaching 160Mbps and 101Mbps respectively, courtesy of Cablenet in Japan and Cablevision in New York. Super fast, high speed broadband could be used to stream HD content in real time as well as for video conferencing and home surveillance.

With all the excitement surrounding these pilot tests, it is hardly believable that the UK government has asked for the minimal Universal broadband speed to be set at a pityful 2Mbps.

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Our Comments

Potential customers will certainly need to wait a long time for the 200Mbps to roll out. Even when BT's next generation network is rolled out, it will barely reach Virgin Media's 50Mbps line which is currently the provider's fastest line. Expect the line to be available in 2012, shortly after Virgin Media makes 20Mbps the new entry level speed.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.