Virgin Media O2 Launches Innovative Smart Pole Trial

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Virgin Media O2, a leading British broadband and mobile operator, in collaboration with its shareholder Liberty Global, has embarked on a pioneering venture with the introduction of its Smart Pole Trial. This innovative project sees the deployment of 4G and 5G-capable smart poles across the UK, aimed at enhancing mobile network coverage and capacity significantly.

These smart poles, which are notably smaller than the traditional mobile masts, offer a swift and efficient setup process, bypassing common regulatory challenges such as the need for planning permission. Leveraging the company’s extensive fibre network, which includes around 25,000 street cabinets nationwide, Virgin Media O2 envisions a broad and expedited deployment. This strategic move is expected to streamline network expansion, minimize costs, and mitigate risks associated with upgrade initiatives.

In an unprecedented move for the UK, the smart poles are powered through an innovative approach dubbed ‘digital electricity.’ This technology harnesses Virgin Media’s fibre network to distribute power from on-street cabinets via fibre optic cables, eliminating the reliance on conventional power supplies.

Looking ahead, these smart poles hold the potential to revolutionize urban infrastructure by supporting smart city applications and electric vehicle charging stations, all through Virgin Media O2’s existing network framework.

Jeanie York, the Chief Technology Officer of Virgin Media O2, expressed enthusiasm about the trial, highlighting the company’s commitment to leveraging its infrastructure in novel ways to enhance service delivery. “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,” York stated. This initiative marks a significant step forward in the company’s ongoing efforts to expand and upgrade its network capabilities, promising to deliver greater value and convenience to customers across the UK.

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