Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton internet broadband speeds to be boosted

Fibre broadband cables (graphic) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Virgin Media said half the country would have access to its gigabit broadband speeds by the end of 2021

Homes and businesses in Southampton are set to have access to internet download speeds 20 times the current national average.

It is being offered at the start of a national rollout of gigabit broadband by Virgin Media, which has pledged to cover 15 million homes by 2021.

The upgrade still involves the use of a type of copper-based cable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously called for an acceleration of the UK's rollout of "full-fibre" connections.

Gigabit broadband internet services provide speeds of 1 gigabit per second - or 1,000 Megabits.

About 100,000 homes in Southampton are now able to access Virgin Media's Gig1 broadband. The average in the city is currently 40Mbps.

In most cases, Virgin Media would use existing coaxial cables to make the so-called "last mile" connections between homes and street cabinets, with the promised speed boost delivered by an upgrade to the Docsis (data over cable service interface specification) standard.

The company claims it would offer speeds 20 times the current UK average. Downloading a high definition film of 5GB would take about 42 seconds, compared to 13 minutes with the current UK average download speed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson challenged the industry to deliver the 100% rollout of fibre-optic broadband to properties across the UK "in five years" before he won the leadership vote.

At present, BT's Openreach division, Virgin Media and smaller players including Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and Cityfibre are installing fibre to the premises (FTTP) networks which allows even faster speeds. BT Openreach is on target to deliver full fibre to around 15 million homes by 2025.

Chief operating officer Jeff Dodds said its approach would give half the country access to Virgin Media's gigabit speeds by the end of 2021.

More on this story