Kevin Baughan, director of technical strategy at Virgin Media, answered some questions from Communications Technology about the broadband business in the United Kingdom.

What does the competitive landscape look like for Virgin Media in the UK?

We’re seeing increasing consumer demand for bandwidth, driven by the success of BBC iPlayer, iTunes, social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo, and the increasing number of devices people have in their homes. Virgin Media’s fiber-optic network means we are uniquely capable of leading the way in reacting to this changing and growing consumer demand. We can utilize the power of our network and differentiate our proposition at the high value, premium end of the market.

Virgin Media is leading next generation broadband and the launch of ultrafast 50 Mbps from Virgin Media marked a revolution, not an evolution, in how people interact and entertain themselves, and each other, online

What are the big trends for cable in Europe – mobile, apps, IPTV?

Convergence is becoming a reality as people download, watch and consume more and more content across different platforms. We’re exploring the next generation of entertainment and the true integration of the consumer experience where we can combine the quality of broadcast with the functionality and uniqueness of the Internet.

We want to bring content to consumers, however, wherever and whenever they want. By making the most of our uniquely powerful network, Virgin Media will be able to give customers their own world of content, be it as traditional linear TV channels or on demand, wherever you are; on your TV, laptop or mobile phone. For example, you’ll be able to chat to your Facebook friends, in real time, as it is revealed "who did it" on the top soap opera of the day.

Where do you stand regarding DOCSIS 3.0 deployments?

We’re currently rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 across our network and are on track to complete this by the end of the summer. DOCSIS 3.0 has enabled us to launch our ultrafast 50 Mbps broadband and allows us to make more efficient use of our bandwidth, delivering benefits to all of our customers. For example, we completed upgrading our 4 Mbps customers to 10 Mbps last year and are currently upgrading our 2 Mbps customers to 10 Mbps – all at no extra cost.

What technology are you working on with Motorola to use IP for cable programming?

We’re working with Motorola to explore next generation gateways capable of supporting converged entertainment services, including multi-room TV, taking content across platforms, moving content from device to device and customizable user interfaces.

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