Updated: Virgin Media Enlists Cisco For IP Video Project


U.K. cable operator Virgin Media is planning to migrate its legacy digital video delivery infrastructure to an IP-based platform and has selected Cisco Systems as its key technology partner for the project.

When completely deployed, the new TV platform will be capable of delivering advanced services to more than 12.6 million homes across Virgin Media's footprint in the U.K.

The value of the deal wasn't disclosed, nor was the operator's expected completion date for the project.

Virgin Media will deploy Cisco's Digital Video Headend technology in all of its regional and central headends. Cisco IP core and edge network technologies will provide high-speed distribution between the central and regional headends and support delivery to Virgin Media's high-speed access network.

According to the companies, the IP infrastructure will help Virgin Media reduce operating expenses, support the rollout of new conditional-access security and speed up the introduction of new standard- and high-definition services.

"Upgrading our digital TV platform means we can continue bringing innovative new services to our customers," Daniel Hennessy, Virgin Media's director of technical architecture, said in a statement. "With greater resilience and added capacity, we can guarantee an outstanding viewer experience as we add further HD content to our TV platform."

Cisco will manage the project, which will include installation, system integration, the priming of third-party elements and support provided by the Cisco Advanced Video Services Group.

"With the new IP-based TV transmission platform, Virgin Media customers can look forward to services that will change the way they are entertained," said Phil Smith, vice president of Cisco U.K. and Ireland.

Specific Cisco products that will be part of the deployment include its 7609 routers, Catalyst 4948 10-Gigabit Ethernet switches, the Cisco Digital Content Manager, and RFGW 1 RF gateways.

Virgin Media also is deploying Cisco DOCSIS 3.0 equipment for its 50 Mbps broadband service rollout in the U.K., as well as for a 200-Mbps broadband trial in Ashford, Kent in England. In addition, the operator is using Motorola's DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem termination systems.