Virgin puts Internet up a telegraph pole

Virgin Media has announced a trial to deliver ultrafast 50Mb broadband to the Berkshire village of Woolhampton using telegraph poles.

Homes in the village will be directly to Virgin Media's fibre optic network, to deliver ultrafast broadband access, as well as Virgin Media's TV service. The trial will start this month and is scheduled to run for six months.

Virgin said the trial is part of its plan to bring next-generation digital services to people who currently live beyond the reach of fibre optic networks. It says it has identified more than a million homes in parts of the UK that stand to benefit from deployment over telegraph poles.

Neil Berkett, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, reckons the trial, "will allow us to understand the possibilities of aerial deployment and may provide an exciting new way to extend next generation broadband services."

The Government is currently considering a change to planning guidelines which is needed to enable large-scale overhead deployment. Virgin Media said it thinks using overhead poles as well as underground ducts could improve the viability of delivering digital services to rural communities.