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Virgin Media Readies 100Mbit Service, Trials 200Mbit

Gordon Kelly


Virgin Media Readies 100Mbit Service, Trials 200Mbit

Got Virgin's 50Mbit service and feeling the jealous at the Bournemouth residents' 1Gbit/sec connections? Branson's boys want to ease your pain...

Today the company has announced it will double-up and launch a 100Mbit/sec service before the end of 2010. Yes, there are some niche and trial connections faster than that, but this would be by far the UK's fastest mass market product.

“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, by investing in technological innovation and transforming the experience they have when they are online," said Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett. "The launch of Virgin Media’s 100Mb service will be a historic moment and will mean the UK will be comparable to other leading broadband nations.”

Virgin doesn't anticipate any problems in meeting these speeds thanks to its DOCSIS 3.0 cable network and the switch off of its remaining analogue services. On top of this Virgin will expand trials of 200Mbit/sec connections to users in Coventry, while 400MBit/sec is even on the radar which really would see the UK leap up the global broadband rankings.

One fly in the ointment: if you're using WiFi then real world wireless n speeds are already tested to the limit by 50Mbit connections (unlike DSL, cable achieves the rates it advertises) and you would simply lose any benefit of the additional 50Mbit unless you were connected by Ethernet. Yep, we need the IEEE to get a move on. In a world of 100Mbit/sec broadband and streaming Full HD movies we can't be waiting six years between official standards anymore...


via Broadband TV News


February 25, 2010, 7:54 pm

I'm on Virgin's 50 MB service at the moment, and while it is very good, the fact remains that you can only make use of the speed if the service you are using has the bandwidth available. The 50MB service is great, but it makes no difference when the site you are using can't cope or serve you with enough data quickly enough. I still welcome this announcement, but I think people interested by this should consider how they would make use of such a fast connection...


February 25, 2010, 8:12 pm

I think the term mass market throws salt into the wounds of those who are still on 1mb/s (not out of choice) or even dial up for that matter.


February 25, 2010, 8:18 pm

torrents and streaming.. mainly torrents, streaming sucks imo, would rather wait 5 mins and watch a show in good quality than have instant access to pixelated content.

I dunno what fast internet is for if you dont p2p? Maybe someone can enlighten me but I am yet to see anything.

I wonder what the bandwidth will drop to when they throttle the connection? The speeds are nice but its the same problem, their peak time is when I prob get most of my downloading down in the week so would be forever getting less than what I pay for or have to get the speeds and not use them.


February 25, 2010, 8:36 pm

@ kdot - the 50Mbit connection currently has no throttling or traffic management of any kind. When 100Mbit launches, I suspect that will be the same. Perhaps the 50Mbit connection will then have restrictions put on it to encourage people to step up...


February 25, 2010, 8:53 pm

That's all very well, but I second Andrew Violet's comment. Will these new services be rolled out in the areas still struggling with 1-2Mb or less, or will they simply be a further luxury for those already lucky enough to have superfast connections?


February 25, 2010, 9:23 pm

I thought all of Virgins network was 50mb?

They wont be able to expand it until Sky is reigned in a bit and they can make some money from TV.


February 25, 2010, 9:39 pm

All of Virgin's network offers 50Mbit speeds. The bigger concern is for those people currently outside the network as it reaches about 50% of the population, but hasn't been expanding that fast.


February 25, 2010, 9:57 pm

@Gordon: thanks i didnt know that, I will have to actually pay attention to Virgin stories in future to see if that changes if and when it makes it to my area (might already be here for all i know lol!)


February 25, 2010, 10:30 pm

Would love to see the whole country get access to it, would then need to be opened up to other competitors, though this would need to carry a hefty pricetag as Virgin is massively in debt due to building the network in the first place.


February 25, 2010, 10:43 pm

@ kdot fast Internet can be useful if you like to buy and download games from services such as Steam and Xbox live, not to mention HD movies for devices like Apple TV. As the speed becomes faster for the "majority" of people services will then be developed or improved to take advantage of this. Who knows we might end up getting full HD TV through cable rather than the half hearted HD ready Service currently received through freeview HD and Sky HD. Heck all Video & Audio entertainment at home through cable. But that would be a long way away for us here in Blighty.


February 25, 2010, 10:56 pm

Wish we never moved house. I live in Coventry and my old house had a cable, new one does not! Oh what a difference a 1/4 of a mile makes!

Wish other companies would take Mr Branson's initiative. Due to his lack of competitors prices remain relatively high. Aswell as the cable, I am heading to Lodnon by train tomorrow, Virgin operates the new(ish) Pendolinos which can go 140mph (restricted to 125mph due to our outdated infrastructure.) To go at peak times would cost me at least £60 and take me an hour.

Being poor I am taking London Midland, new trains, same route but they bought stoppers! 100mph tops and a 2hr journey, no competition to Mr Branson's speed demons!

PLEASE, don't let this happen with the broadband!

Lee Marshall

February 25, 2010, 11:18 pm

@Gordon "All of Virgin's network offers 50Mbit speeds."

Unfortunately that is not the case. I am in a Virgin analogue area and they don't offer any cable broadband service at all.

I would rather they spent their cash updating my connection rather than developing something that only a few will use.


February 25, 2010, 11:25 pm

is there any news on what the upload speeds will be, its only 1.5 meg on 50 meg dl? I could do with 10 up for when im away from home so i can ftp to where i am...


February 25, 2010, 11:42 pm

@Lee Marshall - I was talking about Virgin's cable network Lee. Apologies, I thought everyone would have known that.


February 25, 2010, 11:43 pm

I've been using Virgin's 50mb service for 9 months now and I'm totally fed up with it. I intend to switch to Sky's 20mbps unlimited when my 12 month contract is up. I live in the SW of England and have never been able to reach anywhere near the speeds I am paying for.

Virgin engineer's have tested my PCs and equipment and told me there is nothing wrong with them, nothing wrong with the cable modem and router - the issue is to do with the Virgin network itself and they are aware of the problem. That was over three months ago and there is still no improvement. Occasionally, it does work fast but it is not consistent enough for me.

Even as I write this (have just got home from work) the network has gone extremely slow yet again. I use reputable (subscription based) internet security software, don't have problems with spyware etc and know how to optimise my PC so that it runs quickly. My pc is hard wired to the router and other pc's in the house use Wireless N adapters. All of which have problems with this 50mbps service.

In addition, although Virgin state that they do not throttle back their 50mb service - I for one remain unconvinced. My online experience and internet usage feels like it is being throttled sometimes. Unfortunately, I have to stick with it for another three months because there is a £120.00 penalty for leaving outside of the contracted period. It can't come soon enough for me. Perhaps I'm just unlucky though - I haven't read too many negative reviews about this elsewhere.

Rajiv Dhir

February 26, 2010, 12:00 am

Forget wireless, put ethernet in your house. When I moved in I needed more electrical sockets anywhere and it cost me about £400 to add 64 shiny ethernet sockets all over the house. Never looked back. I did the terminations (socketing) myself, but let the electrician lay the network cable and take it to the backboxes in the walls. I've also noticed builders are starting to put a few (like 4-8) in a house.


February 26, 2010, 12:49 am

agree with thomas and lee my old house had great cable service my brand new property has none yet the cable box is 100m away and they wont install only offering me dsl which is 3mbit at best and the bt exchange is only 1 mile away i,m hoping bt get into gear and get their fts service installed quicker than published


February 26, 2010, 1:25 am

Err hello Virgin customers how greedy do you want to be? In my current predicament having a steady 5mb/s would be a miracle. Surely unless your downloading terabytes of movies at a time it will make little difference to most.

Its absurd that i still have to leave an album overnight to download. Or that PSN barely works at all in 2010.

I just wish the government would go all socialist on this issue and share the speed!


February 26, 2010, 1:37 am

@shewbrookj: They don't throttle the 50 mbps service, not up here in Yarkshar anyway. I recently downloaded several GB in a single night post a hard disk crash (Linux ISOs, retrieve online backup of critical data, etc.), and there was zero reduction in speed. I've gone into hundreds of megabytes several evenings a month (work-related stuff), and there's never been an issue.


February 26, 2010, 2:05 am

Rajiv: 64? Really? 64? Can you actually see the walls any more? 64!? Have you bricked up the windows to make room for more sockets?





February 26, 2010, 2:47 am

Just a quick comment on why you might want a 50mbps service if you're not downloading torrents: multiple users. We're moving into an era when a lot of devices in the home are connected to the net and media is delivered on demand through many different services. Take a typical family with two kids. You may have a desktop, couple of laptops, maybe an iPod Touch, a games console, a handheld and even a TV with basic internet connectivity built in. On a normal evening you may have at least two Internet feeds running, maybe something bandwidth heavy like iPlayer on one of 'em, plus an on-line game. While you don't need a 50mbps connection to do that the extra headroom can be very very handy.

That being said, it does feel like overkill at the moment. The only reason I'm tempted to go to it is for the removal of the data caps but nah, still not worth it.


February 26, 2010, 2:57 am

@lensmann: do you mean over the day or over night? Because they dont throttle at night just peak times, also to me that is not heavy usage. If you have a 50 meg line you should be able to download a few gigs without penalty, until there is confirmation I would stick with Sky where I have been known to download a good few 100 gb's in a weekend and never had any problems.

@RazorA: having 100Mbit down to download the occasional demo, game from steam etc doesnt sell legal usage to me, is like buying a bugatti to do the school run.

IMO 10 meg is the most an average user will need, 2 - 4 is more likely, most people in my experience dont download that much. Most bandwidth is more likely spent on internet pages. If they are aiming for on-demand HD (of proper quality not what we currently get) I would love to see it, but I think we are a long way away from anything like that.

@Rajiv: Thats something I've wanted to do for ages, hopefully one day I'll have the cash and property to do it in :D


February 26, 2010, 4:59 am

I have to say if this is anything like the 50Mb service I can't wait.

I switched over to the 50Mb service a while ago and used Usenet to back up my Blu-ray TV series collections to a NAS. I downloaded around 10 terabytes in that month and I got consistent 6.12 - 6.14MB/s with Giganews and Newsleecher.

I own the Blu-ray for every TV series I backed up but I have to say since going the downloading option I don't have to change discs I have all my shows at my finger tips so I've backed up every one of my favourite TV shows that I've bought.

A faster internet has largely changed the way I consume and back up media and I love it. If they keep this unlimited itll be bliss for those of us in a good Virgin Media area. In my area I have to say VM is incredibly consistent with constant good speeds.

Relegated to 10Mb at the moment but I will opt for the 100Mb when this nasty little recession goes away.


February 26, 2010, 5:05 am

Got the 50Mb broadband at the moment - not bad - not life changing like moving from an analogue modem to ASDL.

One thing that annoys me though is this is the cutting edge of technology, but the morons who come out to install this are barely competant.

To install my 50Mb line, 3 chaps turned up to install the physical cable. Then 2 other chaps came along with the modem, etc. Once they had plugged in their modem and saw the lights working, that was their job done. They left me without a working internet, no connection details, email details, etc. I then had to spend a few hours setting this up myself - and I'm pretty savvy with these things.

I'm sure I'm not the exception to their special service.

I wish Virgin would spend more time keeping customers happy rather than try and be the first or fastest.

Hey Virgin, why not try and be the first to 100% customer satisfaction ??!!!!!


February 26, 2010, 1:09 pm

And 640K of memory should be enough for anybody ....

Of course we need progression in the bandwidth to our homes - the current crop of social networking is a good example - this would have been inconceivable in this format with our trusty 56k modems.

As the bandwidth increases it accelerates innovation to consume it - bring it on :)

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