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Virgin Media to double the speed of customer broadband

Virgin Media will double the speed of its broadband service for over four million of its customers, the company has said.

The upgrade, which begins in February, will also see the service's top speed increase from 100Mbps to 120Mbps.

The full roll-out is expected to be complete by mid-2013 at a cost to the company of ?110m.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the investment would be a "great boost" to the UK.

"I welcome this announcement from Virgin Media," Mr Cameron said in a statement.

"It will provide a great boost for the economy and change the way many households, consumers and businesses use the internet."

"Rolling out superfast broadband across the country is a critical part of our plan to upgrade the UK's infrastructure and build a new and smarter economy."

The government has set targets to improve the UK's broadband speeds considerably in the next three years.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Faster broadband speeds are great for customers and great for business, which is why our policy is to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the country by 2015.

"Virgin Media's plans to double broadband speeds are really exciting and we applaud their ambition."

Last year BT announced it was investing ?2.5bn to make fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015.

It promised significant improvements to most homes, while even faster broadband - around 300Mbps - will become available in certain "superfast" areas.

Free of charge

Virgin Media's upgrade will mean customers currently signed up for 10Mbps will be boosted to 20Mbps, while users on 20Mbps and 30Mbps packages will both be upped to 60Mbps.

Those on 50Mbps will be increased to 100Mbps. Customers already on the top 100Mbps tariff will be raised to 120Mbps - the fastest speed Virgin Media is currently able to provide.

The company said bandwidth usage limits will also be doubled to accommodate the increased speed.

Most customers will not notice the upgrades taking place, nor will any have to pay for the changes to take place, a spokesman said.

However, some users with old modems and other similar hardware will receive new up-to-date equipment free of charge.

Fernando Elizalde, a principal analyst from Gartner who specialises in consumer broadband, said he believed Virgin Media's investment in expanding its broadband capability was sound.

"In the last year and a half, multiple connections in the home and online video have caught up so much that it justifies having this high amount of bandwidth," he told the BBC.

"But there is still the question about rural areas. Virgin still cover mostly urban areas - they don't reach as many people in rural areas as BT and other telecoms providers."

According to Ookla, a company which uses monitors broadband speed tests across the world, the UK ranks around 35th globally when ranked by broadband consumer download speed - an average of 11.65Mbps.

Virgin Media say that when the roll-out is complete, that average could rise to around 16.46Mbps.

Based on Ookla's research, which gathers data from millions of speed tests, the increase would rank UK the 19th-fastest globally when compared to today's standards.

'Competitive advantage'

The BBC's media correspondent Torin Douglas said the service improvement will come at an opportune time as more bandwidth-heavy services like Lovefilm and Netflix, which launched this week in the UK, begin to start attracting larger numbers.

"It means their subscribers can get their television, movies and songs even more quickly than they could before, which is obviously good news," he said.

"But Virgin still hasn't managed to convince the majority of consumers that their system is better than broadband that comes down the telephone line."

"Until they do, they won't be able to establish a real competitive advantage."

Virgin Media's chief executive Neil Berkett said: "The internet has become an integral part of our social, work and family lives, so we think our customers are going to love this."

"As people are increasingly doing more online, and getting connected to the internet with lots of different devices, having a fast, reliable broadband service should not be a luxury."

"We want to make sure that consumers have access to the best value broadband service and that means a superfast connection."

Source: BBC News

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I'm on 100Mb with Virgin Media and I get like 98Mb/ps so I'm quite happy. 120Mb is nice of course, I wonder if the upload will increase too. It's 10Mb right now I'd expect it to be 12Mb after this upgrade.

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As a long time customer of Virgin Media since it was known as Yorkshire Cable, this is excellent news!

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Awesome. My 20 is getting a bit slow what with 2 xboxes, 4 computers, 3 smartphones on all the time.

Do virgin have a rollout page again like they did with the upload improvements?

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I'm looking forward to this!

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still waiting for the upload speed to be upgraded :( .

so yet again the customers in the staverton area will be the last to get the good stuff.

and no news on what happens to the customers who are on the 50mb package down load limits,

will this remain unchanged for both the current 50 and 100mb users?

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still waiting for the upload speed to be upgraded :( .

so yet again the customers in the staverton area will be the last to get the good stuff.

and no news on what happens to the customers who are on the 50mb package down load limits,

will this remain unchanged for both the current 50 and 100mb users?

At least it's available to you. I'm still stuck on their ADSL package.

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Im on 50 meg! This is awesome news :D

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?10 bet, Southampton/Locks Heath exchange is last! :(

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Glad I didn't pay for 100Mb, the extra 20Mb/s isn't really any use to me. :woot:

?10 bet, Southampton/Locks Heath exchange is last! :(

I will take that bet. :)

seriously. shake on it? (Y)

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incredible news! I'm on 20mb at the moment, could be on 30mb but that requires spending a ?30 fee to get an updated router/modem which i can't afford atm. Hopefully this will mean i'll get the faster speed and a new modem/router without any extra fees.

Virgin had to do something as you can get bt infinity for ?25 and that is around 37mb, virgin is around ?25 for 30mb.

I hope they increase the bandwidth caps before they throttle us.

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I miss living in a fibre optic area :(

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I miss living in a fibre optic area :(

That has just jogged my memory. I remember when BT infinity was launched and they referred to it as "Britain's first high speed fibre optic network" for a few days. Until someone must have pointed out that cable had been around for about 12 years.

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What about upload? Is there anything that can beat ~10meg upload for ?21 per month on BT Infinity. I'm moving soon to an area that can get Virgin and would consider anything that can beat that.

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Upload upgrades usually come a while after download ones (at least they have in the past). I think the 100Mb has 10Mb upload. Not sure about the others.

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I wish they'd invest a little in expansion, we still can't get cable in our area!

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That has just jogged my memory. I remember when BT infinity was launched and they referred to it as "Britain's first high speed fibre optic network" for a few days. Until someone must have pointed out that cable had been around for about 12 years.

technically virgin isn't fibre optic, its cable. Fibre optic can handle 100gb/s as far as i'm aware, cable can handle around 1.5gbps in trials that are being carried out. Fibre optic doesn't suffer from interference either.

Virgin's cable is still great though :)

I wish they'd invest a little in expansion, we still can't get cable in our area!

digging up roads, getting permission from councils and laying cable costs alot more money than upgrading network gear in exchanges and cabinets.

Virgin said it will cost ?110m, that is hardly anything to upgrade the whole of the uk customers in 18 months.

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I just re-checked my possible speed from Virgin: 0.0 mbps / 2.2 mbps. I get 3.1 mbps from Sky at the moment.

I had 20 mbit when I lived in Norway, I miss real internet :(

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technically virgin isn't fibre optic, its cable. Fibre optic can handle 100gb/s as far as i'm aware, cable can handle around 1.5gbps in trials that are being carried out. Fibre optic doesn't suffer from interference either.

Virgin's cable is still great though :)

Oh dear http://shop.virginme...-explained.html

And from the VM wiki page

Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network, the only national cable network in the United Kingdom

It is only a copper cable once it comes into your house.

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As an existing 100mbit customer, I feel kinda cheated by this. I now wish I had stayed on 50mbit to save myself the extra ?10/month it's costing me.

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Oh dear http://shop.virginme...-explained.html

And from the VM wiki page

It is only a copper cable once it comes into your house.

exactly!

Although it looks as though virgin may be offering their tv, broadband and maybe phone for customers that can get bt infinity. they had a questionnaire on their site last year asking customer if that is something they wanted. This would bring virgin tv to millions more customers.

As an existing 100mbit customer, I feel kinda cheated by this. I now wish I had stayed on 50mbit to save myself the extra ?10/month it's costing me.

speeds will always increase, you can't complain that others will get your speed in 1-19 months for a lower price. Why not drop down to 100mb tier when you get upgraded to 120mb and save yourself some ?? ? I'm going to drop down to L 20mb from XL 20mb when i get the free upgrade to 60mb as i need lower bills more than faster broadband.

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I just re-checked my possible speed from Virgin: 0.0 mbps / 2.2 mbps. I get 3.1 mbps from Sky at the moment.

I had 20 mbit when I lived in Norway, I miss real internet :(

Is that using Virgin's Cable or ADSL option?

It is only a copper cable once it comes into your house.

It's a Coaxial cable coming into ours, rather than twisted pair.

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Think Broadband have the low down on all the new Upload speeds here is their info:

7SPYP.png

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Upload upgrades usually come a while after download ones (at least they have in the past). I think the 100Mb has 10Mb upload. Not sure about the others.

Hmm.

Not worth ?35 p/m for me.

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