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Virgin Media To Challenge BT With Wholesale Wi-Fi & Cable Offer?

News that Virgin Media may be looking to launch a nationwide wireless network to compete with BT Openzone and The Cloud using tens of thousands of Wi-Fi access points shouldn't come as a surprise.

Other than providing with extra capacity for 3G devices whose appetite for bandwidth has grown exponentially over the past years, Virgin Media is also expected to give free access to the Wi-Fi network to its mobile and home broadband users like BT.

Virgin Media told the Telegraph (opens in new tab) that the broadband routers will be placed in the kerbside green boxes, the equivalent of BT's cabinets.

However, there's another possibility as well; Virgin Media could equally roll out new set top boxes that come with embedded femtocells unit turning each of them into a micro tower.

Virgin Media has bandwidth capacity and could potentially add more if needs be because its fibre-optic backbone is much more scalable than BT's copper one.

In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if Virgin Media looks to convince ADSL-based ISPs like Madasafish to use its cable-based infrastructure by throwing in wireless access for free on the proviso that the routers include femtocells.

Cisco, Virgin media's preferred partner for everything, already has Femtocell solutions on the market (like this AT&T 3G Microcell (opens in new tab)).

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

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 ITProPortal.com 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.