Virgin Media O2 Changes The Game with Fiber-Smart Poles To Enhance 5G Roll out

Virgin Media O2’s deployment of 4G and 5G “smart poles” (lamp post sized poles next to a street cab) on top of its existing fibre network marks a significant development in telecommunications infrastructure in the UK. These smart poles are placed beside the VMO2’s existing national fibre network cabinets. Of course, Virgin, being the size they are, means they have over 25,000 cabs across the UK, so if the trials go well, they could really accelerate the speed at which 5G is deployed! This would be a game changer compared to the current deployment rates.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, highlighted that “As we continue investing to upgrade and expand our network, we’re always looking for new ways to work smarter and deliver more for our customers. Groundbreaking trials like this can help boost mobile coverage and bring next generation services to even more customers.

“The ability to use our existing national fixed network to backhaul and power small cells could be transformational – helping us save time and money, open up new revenue streams, support smart city technology and fully leverage the benefits of our scaled converged network.”

The smart poles completely streamline the deployment process. They do not require separate planning permission, reducing both cost and complexity. By utilising the existing fibre network, the need for a separate backhaul connection or dedicated electricity supply is eliminated. This not only saves time and money but also circumvents potentially lengthy planning procedures.

Overall, this initiative represents a significant step forward in expanding 5G around the nation (a technology that is still limited). Let’s hope this new innovation supports rapid growth for a full 5G rollout.

Emily Turner

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