Michael Leckie / Virgin Media

Virgin Media O2 switches on 2Gbps broadband, symmetrical speed options

XGS-PON technology-based Gig2 becomes first residential 2Gbps service from UK provider to go live for sale, designed to help power future technologies from AI to immersive and cloud gaming

Claiming to be able to revolutionise in-home connectivity through offering broadband speeds more than 28 times faster than the UK average, Virgin Media O2 has become the first major UK provider to publicly launch a residential 2Gbps broadband service, as well as introduce symmetrical download and upload speeds across all of its speed tiers as an optional add-on for customers.

Explaining its decision to make the upgrade to the new Gig2 service, VMO2 said that with technology and innovation continuing to evolve at such a rapid rate, from the metaverse to AI and immersive and cloud gaming, connectivity will underpin new technologies and applications.

The upgrade in performance offered by the new Gig2 is twice as fast as the previous gigabit offer. Initially trialled last year, Gig2 will operate on a full-fibre network courtesy of Virgin Media O2’s wholesale partnership with the nexfibre fibre network joint venture. It is powered by XGS-PON network technology which has the capability to scale up to support 10Gbps speeds in future.

Initially available across the nexfibre network, approaching one million premises at launch, Gig2 will be initially available to customers in towns and cities across the UK including London, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow.

Virgin Media O2 is also introducing symmetrical download and upload speeds on its full fibre footprint across all product tiers – a move that it says makes it the first major UK provider to offer this as an optional add-on. Customers in full-fibre areas will also be able to boost their connectivity with a major upload speed add-on. 

The upgrade is available across all of Virgin Media’s speed tiers – from 50Mbps to 2Gbps. Those that sign up or upgrade to Gig2 will receive Virgin Media’s Hub 5x router, its first to support XGS-PON technology. The Hub 5x is Virgin Media’s most energy efficient router to date, supports Wi-Fi 6 devices and also comes with a 10Gbps port to support the faster speeds in the future.

“Virgin Media O2 has always been at the forefront of innovation to provide hyper-fast and next-generation connectivity to homes in the UK, and Gig2 is our latest speed venture which will unlock endless opportunities for future technologies and the ever-changing digital needs of our customers,” said Virgin Media O2 chief technology officer Jeanie York commenting on the launch.

“Gig2 will operate across nexfibre’s XGS-PON, full fibre network which will support symmetrical download and upload speeds - a first for a major UK broadband provider as an optional add-on – and will enable users to send and receive data, files and much more at the blink of an eye. With our heritage in providing cutting-edge technology and hyper-fast broadband speeds, which saw us complete the UK’s first national gigabit roll-out programme, we are looking forward to taking Gig2 to more areas in the near future.”

Rajiv Datta, nexfibre chief executive officer added: “Nexfibre’s full fibre network, powered by XGS-PON technology, provides a platform for progress, as demonstrated by Virgin Media O2’s exciting new Gig2 service with symmetrical speed options. As our roll-out continues at pace, we’re looking forward to empowering more consumers and businesses with the benefits of our significant investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure.” 

Read more about UK gigabit broadband

  • CityFibre wins five new Project Gigabit contracts: Leading UK independent full-fibre network provider gains added stake in UK government’s £5bn gigabit broadband programme, subsidising infrastructure roll-out to over 202,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses across rural areas in UK’s southern counties and Midlands.
  • Gigabit drives UK local authority connectivity priorities for in 2024: Research finds ultra-high speed broadband roll out remains top priority for local authority digital leaders, 5G continues to divide opinion, and apparent lack of focus on net-zero activities.
  • Four-fifths of UK gains access to gigabit broadband: Drive by leading commercial players and Project Gigabit programme sees milestone for gigabit broadband in UK including access for almost a million premises in so-called hard-to-reach places.
  • UK gigabit broadband furthers reach: DSIT releases figures showing 2023 state-funded investment of more than £500m in gigabit connectivity, boosting broadband for over 330,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses across the country.

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