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Virgin Media to launch 100Mbit/s broadband in December


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Pre-registration opens for £35 per month service

Virgin Media is accepting pre-registration for its 100Mbit/s broadband service, which will launch in December as the firm looks to help push the UK up the global broadband table.

Over 12.7 million homes will be able to connect to the service, which is nearly 20 times faster than the UK average. Britain is currently placed 18th in the global broadband rankings.

The 100Mbit/s service will allow customers to download a music album in as little as five seconds, a TV show in 30 seconds and a high-definition movie in just seven minutes, Virgin claimed.

Prime minister David Cameron welcomed the announcement, suggesting that it will deliver a boost to the UK.

"We want to see superfast broadband brought to people's homes and businesses right across the country, and this exciting news takes us a step closer to that goal," he said.

The Virgin Media service will also deliver a claimed upload speed of 10Mbit/s. The package will come with a custom-built energy efficient combined modem and wireless N router with the potential to support speeds of up to 400Mbit/s in the future, Virgin claimed.

Ovum has been expecting more of a push into the enterprise sector from Virgin since the integration and rebrand into Virgin Media Business, Pauline Trotter, a principal analyst at the research firm told V3.co.uk.

"Last month there was the Big Red Internet announcement. Virgin’s sweet spot at the moment is the mid-sized enterprise and public sector organisations, such as local government," she said.

"We would expect Virgin to start competing more in the SME segment as it has some of the resources to prove successful here, including local presence and an extensive access network."

The service will be available for £35 a month when bought in a bundle, or £45 per month if purchased separately. London, the South East and Yorkshire will be among the first regions to get the service, and Virgin aims to complete the rollout by mid-2012.

The launch is a significant milestone in the UK's broadband evolution, and illustrates the power of Virgin's next-generation network, according to Neil Berkett, chief executive at Virgin Media.

"We have already seen a massive uptake in the number of customers watching video-rich services and bandwidth-hungry HD programmes and clips," he said.

"We are now in a world where people want the best connectivity with whatever screen they are using, and service providers that are not able to deliver this will simply be left behind."

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