First UK ISP to offer next-generation broadband
Virgin Media has officially launched its ultrafast 50Mbits/sec broadband service.
Offering nearly nine times the average headline broadband speed in the UK, the launch is part of a massive investment by Virgin Media in its network.
It more than doubles the capacity of the original build of the UK cable network, and Virgin says it creates the potential for it to offer speeds of 200Mbits/sec in future.
The new service will allow multiple users to be on the internet at the same time without affecting the quality or the speed of their service. For example, an entire music album can be downloaded in as little as 11 seconds, a TV show in around one minute, a high-quality movie in as little as three and a half minutes and a high-definition movie in around 15 minutes.
Neil Berkett, Virgin Media’s CEO, said "Today marks a historic moment, for both Virgin Media and the UK. As the first internet service provider (ISP) to roll out next-generation broadband access, our 50Mbits/sec service represents the dawning of a new era of high-speed services in the UK and is just the beginning of what we hope to offer our customers over the coming years.
"This service will transform the way people interact and entertain themselves online and will provide a broadband experience that is truly world class."
The service will be introduced in areas covered by Virgin Media over the coming months. This month around 1.3 million homes in parts of Scotland, the Midlands and south London will be able to get the service.
The rest of the 12.6 million UK homes covered by Virgin’s fibre-optic network will be ready by next summer. By this time, however, it can expect to face stiff competition from BT, which is currently running trials of superfast broadband.
Virgin said that the launch is also good news for existing customers on its lower speeds. Broadband customers with current 10Mbits/sec and 20Mbits/sec services will be moved onto the new network. This will free up capacity for increased traffic on the existing network.
The ISP also said, in time, the upgrade will allow it to handle more than three times the data currently handled by the cable network.
The service will cost £51 a month as a standalone product or £35 a month if taken with a Virgin phone line, which costs £11 a month.
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