Virgin Media to offer 100Mb broadband by end of the year [UK]

Virgin Media said on Thursday that it plans to offer 100Mb broadband services to customers by the end of 2010.

Virgin claims its customers will be the first to receive broadband speeds "more than 24 times the average speed provided by other ISPs." The 100Mb service will allow users to download a music album in as little as 5 seconds, an hour long TV show in 31 seconds and an HD movie in 7 minutes 25 seconds.

Virgin Media's chief executive officer, Neil Berkett, said: "There is nothing we can't do with our fibre optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100Mb service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience. Just as we led the way by launching the UK's first ever next generation service, we want to keep giving our customers the very best broadband available."

Virgin currently offers a 50Mb service to customers priced at £38 a month. The 50Mb service operates on the company's new fibre optic cable network. The network is currently trailing a 200Mb service in Kent. Virgin plans to extend its 200Mb pilot to Coventry where it it will offer the trial to hundreds of customers. The 200Mb pilot, which began in May 2009 in Kent, has been testing high bandwidth applications and downloads of HD content.

Virgin Media also released its fourth quarter results for 2009 (PDF). The results show a great demand for high speed broadband services. Virgin's 20Mb service has seen a 45% increase in demand to 560,300 active customers over the last 12 months. Customers taking out a 50Mb service has increased by 81% to 41,400.

Virgin has not announced pricing, location availability or exact dates but states the roll-out of the 100Mb broadband service will commence by the end of 2010.

Image Credit: Firas (Flickr)

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We might finally be getting faster upload speeds this year too, 50mbit customers in Huddersfield are on a 10mbit upload speed trial at the moment. I would take an improved upload speed over 100mbit down any day of the week.

InsaneNutter said,
We might finally be getting faster upload speeds this year too, 50mbit customers in Huddersfield are on a 10mbit upload speed trial at the moment. I would take an improved upload speed over 100mbit down any day of the week.

I could be completely wrong about this, but wouldnt a faster upload speed increase the speed at which you get files anyway? If you can send SYN packets faster, wouldnt that increase the speed at which you and the server communicate?

I'm on the 50Mb service currently and it's really great I have confidence in virgin to deliver 100Mb.

100Mb/s would be amazing. In my town, the highest they offer is 1.5Mb/s giving me downloads of around 186kB/s and uploads of around 48kB/s. America doesn't offer very high speeds anywhere that isn't a major city. I'm still hoping that Google can continue to push the 1Gigabit/s around the US.

Yinchie said,
120Mbps/10Mbps here, downloading with 15MB/sec and uploading 1MB/sec.
Newsgroups ftw...

Yeah but the Netherlands is so far ahead in terms of internet that you guys don't count!! :P

100mbps? I'm still on 5.5mbps in my area, no one near me has over 8 really. My grandparents can't get more than 1mbps and even that disconnects every 3/4minutes. Oh, and I near Cambridge.

hotdog963al said,
100mbps? I'm still on 5.5mbps in my area, no one near me has over 8 really. My grandparents can't get more than 1mbps and even that disconnects every 3/4minutes. Oh, and I near Cambridge.
Used to live near the Cambridge area and the speeds/service offered was terrible, glad I moved.

Not that I'm complaining, but I can't see how most consumers will get the value out of 100mb connection - I've got 50 meg and I have to really go mad with simultaneous downloads to make it max out, added to that, a lot of sites can't serve the content to me at anything like that speed anyway.

Does anyone anyone know the most reliable way to test your average speed? Speedtest results vary wildly even if I have < 20ms latency (from 14mbps to 48mbps!)

I tried downloading a service pack from the Microsoft website and was getting that at 4MB/sec...which is a bit less than the max 6MB/sec on 50meg.

Sometimes I get blazingly fast speeds, but it seems inconsistent to me. I would rather Virgin try to improve their current services before offering even higher speeds.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
Does anyone anyone know the most reliable way to test your average speed? Speedtest results vary wildly even if I have < 20ms latency (from 14mbps to 48mbps!)

I tried downloading a service pack from the Microsoft website and was getting that at 4MB/sec...which is a bit less than the max 6MB/sec on 50meg.

Sometimes I get blazingly fast speeds, but it seems inconsistent to me. I would rather Virgin try to improve their current services before offering even higher speeds.

I get 50mbt flat out, always. No speed issues at all.
You might want to start using a dl manager, or multithreaded usenet client/p2p etc. Just because one download stream is slow, doesn't mean it has anything to do with VM. If you try a multithread download and it maxes out, it points the finger elsewhere.

If i download with 10-20 connections from usenet, it maxes out my VM connection completely. this is possibly the best way to test pure speed in a real world example

Edited by ZombieFly, Feb 25 2010, 1:41pm :

Hardcore Til I Die said,
Does anyone anyone know the most reliable way to test your average speed? Speedtest results vary wildly even if I have < 20ms latency (from 14mbps to 48mbps!)

I tried downloading a service pack from the Microsoft website and was getting that at 4MB/sec...which is a bit less than the max 6MB/sec on 50meg.

Sometimes I get blazingly fast speeds, but it seems inconsistent to me. I would rather Virgin try to improve their current services before offering even higher speeds.

or you could try gamefiles.blueyonder.co.uk and donwload a large game demo direcltly from their servers. you can only acess the server if you are on a virgin media connection.

xSuRgEx said,

or you could try gamefiles.blueyonder.co.uk and donwload a large game demo direcltly from their servers. you can only acess the server if you are on a virgin media connection.

Consistently maxing out at 4.5MB/sec with those, flitting between 3.8 and 4.5

A full 1.5MB/sec less than the maximum is quite annoying :\

I have had no problems with my connection, if I download to much my speed does go down from 2500KBps to 500KBps.

I am on 20MB internet, I hope they upgrade it to 50MB :)

the average speed for the UK is still only 2MB, i can appreciate them upgrading the network however it would be good to see a lot of ISP's not just virgin get this average up to a good speed.

REM2000 said,
the average speed for the UK is still only 2MB
What year are you from? The average was nearly double that over a year ago so will be even higher than that by now.

idbirch2 said,
What year are you from? The average was nearly double that over a year ago so will be even higher than that by now.
Probably referring to actual speed, not advertised.

REM2000 said,
the average speed for the UK is still only 2MB, i can appreciate them upgrading the network however it would be good to see a lot of ISP's not just virgin get this average up to a good speed.

Average is around 4MB/s for non-cable
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/news/broadband-fibre-speed-boost-virgin-to-launch-100mb-10461.html

Edited by JTaylor69, Feb 25 2010, 9:07pm :

Ci7 said,
download cap should be made illegal

There definitely isn't a download cap on 50meg and I don't think there's throttling either, but throttling is something that makes sense; it's not fair that some extremely heavy downloaders cause the network to slow down for everyone else.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

There definitely isn't a download cap on 50meg and I don't think there's throttling either, but throttling is something that makes sense; it's not fair that some extremely heavy downloaders cause the network to slow down for everyone else.

I don't think it's fair to single out "extremely heavy downloaders" simply because they choose to get the best value out of their Internet connection by utilising it more often. If a network cannot cope with maximum demand from everyone connected to it, then it wasn't designed very well.

vanx said,

I don't think it's fair to single out "extremely heavy downloaders" simply because they choose to get the best value out of their Internet connection by utilising it more often. If a network cannot cope with maximum demand from everyone connected to it, then it wasn't designed very well.
and also shouldn't be advertised as unlimited, as unlimited means without restrictions and a fair usage policy is considered a restriction in my book.

Edited by TSO, Feb 25 2010, 4:50pm :

TSO said,
and also shouldn't be advertised as unlimited, as unlimited means without restrictions and a fair usage policy is considered a restriction in my book.

Unfortunately, your "book" (and mine, for that matter) don't matter that much. Technically, the amount you can download remains unlimited. It's just that you're downloading at a slower speed. Personally, I'd rather download at a slower speed than not download at all ;)

I'm still on the 10MB package. I hardly download big things though. I use mine really for 90% gaming.
Personally I have never had a problem with cable and will always favour it over ADSL.

In norway you will soon get 400Mb\s up AND down. Price will be a bit high I guess, since the company currently offer 100 Mb\s for 250$\month.

sverre said,
In norway you will soon get 400Mb\s up AND down. Price will be a bit high I guess, since the company currently offer 100 Mb\s for 250{0}#92;month.

USD ? :O

I'm on 50mb at the moment and don't suffer any throttling. Download at a sweet 6mb/s.

No problems with throttling at my parents who have 20mb.

Will definately see how expensive 100mb is

rageagainstmachine said,

So you only achive 768kBps download then? not very fast for a 50Mbps service....

I pressume you mean 6MBps

+1

m = milli
M = mega

b = bits
B = bytes

rageagainstmachine said,

So you only achive 768kBps download then? not very fast for a 50Mbps service....

I pressume you mean 6MBps

Ah yes, very clever. You, sir, get a coconut.

When was the last time they expanded their network? 20 years of living in my current town and there's never been any word of it.

Yet the next town has a lower population yet they have it!

_DP said,
When was the last time they expanded their network? 20 years of living in my current town and there's never been any word of it.

Yet the next town has a lower population yet they have it!

I believe if there is new popular demand from the locals they will fit cable, if it's just a few it's not very cost effective.

Also any new residential area seems to get it fitted.

It's a shame that the cable companies stopped rolling out their networks shortly before they did my area. Besides, how many sites can serve stuff up that fast? I have an 18mb line with BeThere and I have to try very hard to saturate that bandwidth. Wonder what fair-usage limits Virgin will have with that? One thing I do like about BeThere is that they explicitly state that they don't have any bandwidth limits. :)

We have 101Mbps available to us in the NYC area -

http://www.optimum.com/online/ultra.jsp

Kinda cheap too, only $55 (extra) a month so a total of about $100. Most people have the 30/5 package tho.

I guess this is not available in Manhattan.

SHoTTa35 said,
We have 101Mbps available to us in the NYC area -

http://www.optimum.com/online/ultra.jsp

Kinda cheap too, only $55 (extra) a month so a total of about $100. Most people have the 30/5 package tho.

Fubar said,
Sorry but i dont get throttled or capped on my 50mb conenction, nice try at spouting bull though :p

Neither did 20mb until more people started using it and instead of upgrading the capacity they just crammed more and more people onto the network and restricted it more and more by throttles.

i get throttled quite a lot, with download speeds peaking 30kb/s and web pages not even loading.

it was fine when we first got it, because the 10mb package was even worse, but now its just gone back to how it was, though im gonna hope its due to crap weather and ive just been downloading a lot more without noticing hah.

Richard Hammond said,

Neither did 20mb until more people started using it and instead of upgrading the capacity they just crammed more and more people onto the network and restricted it more and more by throttles.

theres a massive difference between the kit they use for 20mb and 50mb so it isnt really compareable yes the old 20mb kit couldnt handle the load but the kit they have for 50mb handles it very well

We have 50mb and for about 6 months got no speed at all. Couldn't watch stuff on iPlayer, like 10kb/s highest torrent speed...

They said it was because the area was oversubscribed, and said the network was going to be upgraded in like June or something ridiculous. So all the students in the area (most of them with Virgin, all them getting awful speeds) started a campaign and started bothering Ofcom and stuff, and they pushed the work forward eventually. It's supposedly completed now, and generally it is much better but there are still a couple of evenings a week where it's just unusable.

This is after we were given the totally wrong type of remote for our TV box... twice...

I don't like Virgins over-compressed TV service, they're terrible internet service and support, and I'm definetly never using them again, 100mb or not.

Fubar said,

theres a massive difference between the kit they use for 20mb and 50mb so it isnt really compareable yes the old 20mb kit couldnt handle the load but the kit they have for 50mb handles it very well

Yes im well aware of the difference with Docsis 3.0 but Virgin dont like spending money, once it starts being oversubscribed and speed starts to suffer then the throttles will appear. Not to mention there are FAR more people on Docsis 1.1/2.0 than 3.0 so you cant possibly say that the network would handle better if the subscribers were equal all downloading at 50/100mb.

Edited by Richard Hammond, Feb 25 2010, 11:50am :

JustAnotherTechie said,
We have 50mb and for about 6 months got no speed at all. Couldn't watch stuff on iPlayer, like 10kb/s highest torrent speed...

They said it was because the area was oversubscribed, and said the network was going to be upgraded in like June or something ridiculous. So all the students in the area (most of them with Virgin, all them getting awful speeds) started a campaign and started bothering Ofcom and stuff, and they pushed the work forward eventually. It's supposedly completed now, and generally it is much better but there are still a couple of evenings a week where it's just unusable.

This is after we were given the totally wrong type of remote for our TV box... twice...

I don't like Virgins over-compressed TV service, they're terrible internet service and support, and I'm definetly never using them again, 100mb or not.


Sucks to be you, but I don't have this problem yet, moment is becomes a problem they'll be told where to stick there contract...

Richard Hammond said,

Yes im well aware of the difference with Docsis 3.0 but Virgin dont like spending money, once it starts being oversubscribed and speed starts to suffer then the throttles will appear. Not to mention there are FAR more people on Docsis 1.1/2.0 than 3.0 so you cant possibly say that the network would handle better if the subscribers were equal all downloading at 50/100mb.

Virgin's service is improving big time. They have already increased there bandwidth.
There in the middle of there analog switch off. Which will free up shed loads of bandwidth. There also upgrading there TV service at some stage, with state of the art Cisco equipment, which should save them a lot of bandwidth too.

Not to mention the TV interface upgrade due sometime this year too, after they have teamed up with tivo. All in all Virgin is improving there network as we speak and this year is focused on their network. There even taken measures to kill off cable pirates!
Given us Virgin users more HD channels too.

Edited by joemailey, Feb 25 2010, 5:50pm :

joemailey said,

Virgin's service is improving big time. They have already increased there bandwidth.
There in the middle of there analog switch off. Which will free up shed loads of bandwidth. There also upgrading there TV service at some stage, with state of the art Cisco equipment, which should save them a lot of bandwidth too.

Not to mention the TV interface upgrade due sometime this year too, after they have teamed up with tivo. All in all Virgin is improving there network as we speak and this year is focused on their network. There even taken measures to kill off cable pirates!
Given us Virgin users more HD channels too.

To add to this, TiVo should be this year so not long :)
They have already added Cisco equipment at most of their headends.

They are in process of making a super head-end too with NGTV (Next Gen Television) and no more Ex-Telewest, ExCable-and-Wireless, it will be all one lineup for everybody so it will be easier to implement things.

Check out (mostly sourced from)
www.cableforum.co.uk

simmo said,
Have fun downloading your files for 5mins at uber speed then your speed gets throttled! *sigh*

There is no download limit / traffic management on 50MB plan and I doubt that there will be on the 100MB one either. People buying such services aren't stupid, so if there are limits then a lot of people won't sign up.

vanx said,

There is no download limit / traffic management on 50MB plan and I doubt that there will be on the 100MB one either. People buying such services aren't stupid, so if there are limits then a lot of people won't sign up.

+1, though I expect them to add the 50mb package to there fair usage policy to make way for the 100mb, hopefully I'm wrong though.

The Jambo said,
But what's the upload!

Knowing Virgin it will probably be 3Mb/s! Would be nice to see 10Mb/s but I'm sceptical.

I wish the download/upload ratio was 10:1 on all their packages, 768Kb upload on the 20Mb package sucks :(

Upload should be at least half if not the same as the download speeds. People now a days want to do lots of uploading to sites like youtube, and wonder why it takes so long with their super fast broadband, and why browsing becomes unbearably slow whilst doing so. I too have 768kb upload, and struggle to get 400kb sometimes, whilst the download is fine. I would take 5Mb-up 10Mb-down connection over a 768kb-up 20Mb-down any day.

Colin-uk said,
I'd prefer a bigger upload tbh. even 2-3mb! its not a lot to ask for

Here I was starting to feel sorry for us lowly Americans... 100MBPS?!?! Unheard of!

Then I saw this... I feel better... I have a low-level cable connection (by comparison) and I get 10m down, 2m up. =)

vaximily said,

Here I was starting to feel sorry for us lowly Americans... 100MBPS?!?! Unheard of!

Then I saw this... I feel better... I have a low-level cable connection (by comparison) and I get 10m down, 2m up. =)

The UK coverage is pretty bad though, especially considering it is such a small country. I think the average speed down is something like 3.5Mbps and the upload speeds are awful.

Edited by Minimoose, Feb 25 2010, 5:46pm :

Fubar said,
Nice I might consider upgrading from 50mb :)

Don't they just upgrade you based on tiers. Can see it being M 20mb L 50mb XL 100mb with the same pricing as always.

McDave said,

Don't they just upgrade you based on tiers. Can see it being M 20mb L 50mb XL 100mb with the same pricing as always.


Doubt it, 100mb will probably be XXL with an XXL price tag of around £50 a month.