Virgin Media 100Mbps rollout to be completed ahead of mid-2012 deadline

By Lee Kaelin on February 7, 2012, 9:30 AM

The rollout of Virgin Media’s super fast broadband service across the UK first started in October 2010 and was initially expected to be completed by mid-2012, offering its millions of customers connection speeds up to 120Mbps across the country.

The Internet provider has now confirmed it is ahead of schedule with the service already available in over ten million homes, according to the Guardian. "Reaching today’s milestone puts us ahead of schedule as we help propel the UK up the global broadband rankings. Broadband is coming of age as more people give up on slow DSL in favor of superfast fiber-optic speeds," said Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media.

Virgin Media had previously rolled out 100Mbps services in select areas of the country but it is now topping at 120Mbps. Over the next 18 months the company plans to upgrade the connection speeds of its entire customer base, with existing 10Mbps subscribers getting a bump to 20Mbps, those that currently have 20Mbps or 30Mbps packages getting 60Mbps, while Brits on a 50Mbps service will achieve 100Mbps after the upgrade. Those that purchase Virgin Media's 100Mbps service will also see their speed increased to 120Mbps.

Their 50Mbps service has one of the highest averages in the country, with data from industry regulator Ofcom announcing in November that the ISP has an average of 49Mbps on its 50Mbps service. My connection regularly reports 55+Mbps when checking the connection speed. The country-wide average broadband speed in the UK is now 7.6Mbps, up from 6.2Mbps the same time last year.

Virgin faces stiff competition from British Telecom, which is also doubling existing speeds and offering customers up to 80Mbps connections. The latter just finished trialing its 300Mbps Infinity service and plans to roll it out countrywide from spring this year, although subscribers to the new service will be required to have installed dedicated fiber connections from the local cabinets in order to receive those speeds.

Both ISP’s are racing to provide customers with the fastest possible speeds, whilst simultaneously hoping to starve out any competition from TalkTalk and BSkyB, neither of which have any fiber infrastructure and therefore cannot offer anywhere near the same speed. That said, Sky is currently trialing the faster service from BT and may rent fiber-infrastructure from them to offer similar services to its customers in the near future.




User Comments: 14

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Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I think 300 Mbps could justify me moving to te UK. I live in the sticks and the best I can get is 3 Mbps...

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So standard speed or something will be 100mbps/120mbps? Or is it just the option for upgrading? Wonder how much it will cost ^^

Lionvibez said:

Ranger12 said:

I think 300 Mbps could justify me moving to te UK. I live in the sticks and the best I can get is 3 Mbps...

And you would quickly move back once you see all the other bullshit you would have to deal with just to have fast internet.

Guest said:

I live in the United Kingdom, Scotland. My connection speed, with Virgin Media is 1.5mb/s download and 0.4mb/s upload. That said, I do live on an Island (still connected to the mainland via bridge) but some people five miles away from me with BT get 7mb/s download. I'm guessing my line would have to be upgraded to get a decent connection overall, and Virgin aren't going to spend money on that.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

lionvibez said:

Ranger12 said:

I think 300 Mbps could justify me moving to te UK. I live in the sticks and the best I can get is 3 Mbps...

And you would quickly move back once you see all the other bullshit you would have to deal with just to have fast internet.

What problems? SuperHub issues?

Leeky Leeky said:

I have to say I'm looking forward to using 120Mbps in the next couple of months, especially considering its at no extra charge to my current premium.

That said, I'd like to see a massive improvement in upload speeds. Its all well and good connecting to most servers at well over 5.5Mbit/s but its an absolute pain that (at least domestic) users are capped at a 500Kbit/s upload rate.

BT's equivalent service offers a upload rate nearly double that. If you're going to offer customers 120Mbps, you should be able to offer an upload rate at least 10-25% the download rate in my opinion.

For those curious, this is what my 50Mbps Virgin Media connection gives me:

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Oh let's see, I'd have to redefine my definition of football, learn to queue in a line, and probably cut my legs off at the knee so I can fit in their small cars (I'm well over 6' . That's enough bs for me, I think I'll stay here.

Note, learning to use the metric system was not listed because that is, in fact, easier and more desirable than the convoluated system America uses.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ranger12 said:

Oh let's see, I'd have to redefine my definition of football

You gotta admit football makes a lot more sense when referring to soccer...

The American version should be called handegg.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

slh28 said:

Ranger12 said:

Oh let's see, I'd have to redefine my definition of football

You gotta admit football makes a lot more sense when referring to soccer...

The American version should be called handegg.

They tried that one, but it got too messy and everything smelled after a couple days...

Nima304 said:

If only US ISPs weren't so cheap.

AlanCasseb said:

Live in Brazil and have 100Mbps in my home for over a year now...

Just a thought.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

What I really hate, is that Virgin isn't possible in my area and BT Infinity is, but apparently, down my road only, I cannot get any packages even if I wanted to? Just makes no sense? I have only one option, ADSL2+ AnnexM which is what I currently have with BE, I really hope they offer Fiber one day, BE have always been one of the fastest ISP's times are changing, hope they can keep up!

Leeky Leeky said:

Once BT rolls out fibre to your local cabinet Burty117, you "should" in theory be able to get speeds of upto 80Mbps using copper based wiring. Those that have dedicated fibre to the workplace/home (FTTP) connections will be able to have faster speeds, up to 300Mbps once the roll-out completes.

It will be interesting to see how Virgin Media develops further increases across its Fibre network over the next year or two, as BT would easily overtake them -- and will do once 300Mbps becomes available on a countrywide scale.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Higher bandwith is great and all, but what really matters for me as an online gamer is ping speeds. I get a down speed of 10Mbps and don't really see the use for anything faster, it streams 1080p videos fine.

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