Fibre optic networks are offering faster broadband speeds
Virgin Media is piloting broadband speeds of 200Megabit per second (Mbps) for a small group of users in the UK.
Following successful trials in the lab, 100 "lead adopters" in Kent will have access to the high speeds, believed to be among the fastest in the world.
Virgin will be using the high speeds to test applications such as 1080p high definition TV and 3DTV.
The pilot will last six months before the results are analysed. A variety of upstream speeds will also be tested.
Virgin is able to achieve the speeds thanks to a technology called Docsis 3, which makes more efficient use of the capacity of fibre to the cabinet connections used by Virgin.
FAST CONSUMER BROADBAND CONNECTIONS
1Gbps - KDDI Japan
160Mbps J:Com Japan
120Mbps Liberty Global - Netherlands
The challenge in making use of the speeds is the inability of wireless networks to cope with 200Mbps connections therefore requiring hard wired connections.
Users also need high-specification computers that have gigabit Ethernet ports that can deal with such fast data speeds.
There is also the issue that many websites only have 100Mbps connections into data centres, meaning they are unable to serve pages or content at a speed to take advantage of the fast service.
Virgin said the 200Mbps service is the fastest speed in the world achieved using Docsis 3 technology.
In a statement Virgin Media's chief executive Neil Berkett said: "We're at the forefront of innovation and understanding when it comes to ultrafast broadband services and the 200Mb pilot will give us further insight into how true 'wideband' services might be used by consumers."