VMO2 Launches Commercial XGS PON Service

Virgin Media O2 has officially started selling broadband services commercially through its new XGS PON network.

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A commercial trial of the technology was originally kicked off last November. 

”These trials proved successful so now we are taking the next step forward in our network evolution and starting to sell services powered by the latest fibre technology, known as XGS-PON, much more widely”

Jeanie York, VMO2’S Chief Technology Officer

Until recently, customers of VMO2 could expect to be served entirely by their hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) infrastructure. VMO2 upgraded this to DOCSIS 3.1, allowing it to be first in line to offer gigabit broadband services. But unlike the newer FTTP technologies like XGS PON- that supports 10Gbps downlink and uplink speeds- DOCSIS has some limits in upload speed. 

This hasn’t always been an issue, but the data it struggles to upload is becoming a bigger proportion of overall network traffic as cloud services, user-generated content and video calling becomes far more popular. While the latest of HFC tech, DOCSIS 4.0, can offer a significant improvement in the uplink area, it still lacks in downlink. 

This gradual quality is what led VMO2’s decision around two years ago to upgrade it’s HFC networks to full fibre, underpinned by XGS PON. The upgrade is aimed to be complete by 2028.

In addition to this, nexfibre, a smaller joint venture by parent companies Telefónica and Liberty Global, as well as InfraVia Capital Partners, is rolling out a wholesale FTTP network tat aims to pass 5 million new premises by 2026. It even has an option to extend its reach by another 2 million premises, with VMO2 as the anchor customer. 

”Our network can already deliver ultrafast 1.1-Gbps speeds and beyond, meaning that it’s fast enough to handle everything that customers want to do right now and in the near future. However, with customers using more and more data each year- with total data use on our network increasing by more than 10% last year- demand is only going in one direction.”

The implementation of XGS PON will also help VMO2 keep up the pace with other providers, such as Vodafone, who are already trialling XGS PON with altnet CityFibre.

In the beginning, it seems that XGS PON won’t be available to customers within the VMO2 legacy network footprint. It’ll instead be offered to those in locations in which it has recently deployed fibre- or announced plans to- and in areas already covered by nexfibre. Pricing doesn’t seem to be announced at this time.

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