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Virgin Preparing 400Mbit Cable Broadband

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Virgin Preparing 400Mbit Cable Broadband

Here's a wonderfully smug way to make your rivals know just what good shape you're in...

Virgin Media has said it will look into the potential of offering a 400Mbit cable broadband service within the next two years. Speaking to Tech Radar, Virgin Media exec director Jon James said:

"The DOCSIS 3 network really gives us a dial we can turn to give more speed to customers if we think that is the right thing to do both for those customers and commercially. We have done 50Mbps and a series of upgrades and we will continue to give Virgin Media customers free upgrades on an equipment basis because we are the speed leader and we think it's going to continue as a way we do broadband.

"We are also doing 100Mbps – launching in Q4 this year – we are trialling 200Mbps but that's a very commercial trial in the sense of working out in the real life what you can do with 200 Mbps," he continued. "We know very well we can do 200Mbps and we could do 400 Mbps. We are launching a new modem by the end of the year that will be 400 Mbps capable. And that's a vehicle for the evolution of our speed portfolio in the next two years."

Virgin hasn't been shy in promoting the huge potential of its DOCSIS 3 network with 100MBit and 200Mbit claims before and given DSL connections will be constrained by their current architecture to little more than 40Mbit it seems a wise commercial ploy.

On the flip side, there are also arguments that the vast increases in streaming audio and data are starting to cripple major broadband services, most notably mobile broadband. I'll be examining these contradictions in a feature on Monday, and you won't even be able to get a 100Mbit connection by then...

Source: TechRadar

Go to comments


June 24, 2010, 8:26 pm

Hmmmm, considering that Derby had a six week outage and the latency is so bad on their 10mbit service that we swapped to Beyond adsl.

I would prefer that they sorted out their current platform rather than rushing out headline grabbing announcements on the latest product for the future.

Rok Krznar

June 24, 2010, 8:41 pm

I have never thought that I would say something like this in regards to internet speed, but here I go: Overkill.

Give everyone 100Mbps (symmetrical) and our cries will be silenced for the next 5-10 years :) .


June 24, 2010, 9:01 pm

besides the obvious throttling concerns (which probably wouldnt even be a concern, because what are they really going to drop you too from even 100 let alone 400..?). Are there any legal reasons to have such a fast internet connection? IMO they should work on being able to sustain 50/100Mbit instead of pushing the limits and overselling as they no doubt do

Brian ONeill

June 24, 2010, 9:05 pm

I have a 10meg line with virgin and its a fast as frig. Realistically do we need these speeds? I know people said 512k was fast enough, but there must become a point where increases in speed do not make much real world differences.


June 24, 2010, 9:31 pm

I got an idea - why not roll out 10MB to every home and see how many customers you get!

Ok maybe it doesn't work like that but rural businesses and communities are suffering because of the lack of decent speed internet to rural areas. It must be noted that there are many urban areas with similar issues. Schemes like Virgins are just expanding the digital divide and whilst it makes headlines to the vast majority it just simply will not affect them.

On a similar note before the election the tories said they would scrap the broadband tax and then take money from the license fee to fund their superfast broadband. As I understand it, now the plan is to leave to the free market aka let the market continue as it has for the last decade. If this is true then their promise to provide superfast broadband to the majority by 2017 cannot be guaranteed since they have no influence over it. It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out that either the BBC/OFCOM opposed this or that it may even be illegal.


June 24, 2010, 11:03 pm

makes stuff all difference to us... the guys who built the flat didnt see fit to connect it to virgins cable line, if they even have one in the street!


June 24, 2010, 11:31 pm

Just a numbers game. The response you get also depends on the site you're trying to access.

Already got the 50Mb link. To be honest, it is faster than by previous 8Mb, but not noticably. Definately not life changing.

I wish Virgin would concentrate on customer service (which people care about and want) than waste time and effort on almost useless speeds.

Wouldn't it read better if the headline said "99 out of 100 Virgin customer are happy" rather than talking about the 400Mb link?

Joseph Middleton

June 25, 2010, 12:36 am

I think I could cry a little bit.

20 minutes from cardiff and I'm considered rural and enjoying 1.4mbps and pay the same rate as you folks in London.

I hate my miserable life... *grumbles in corner*

Ala Miah

June 25, 2010, 12:59 am

I'd rather they provided 50MB to 80/90% of the UK homes rather then 100 or 400mb to 20 or 30 percent. I dont think cable areas will increase anytime soon so Virgin are always limited in that sense.

Ill be happy once my exchange is upgraded (March 2011) for 40MB bb. currently 8MB ADSL.


June 25, 2010, 1:37 am

Real time uncompressed 1920x1080 Video at 50/60fps is around 2.5-3Gbps and if we want this to last a decent amount of time (i.e. 20 years+) we should be aiming for at least 4k2k@200fps to allow for fancier 3d (current 3d already doubles the requirements) and other data hungry improvements.

Or put it this way: USB 1.1 runs at around 8Mbps and USB 2 runs at around 360Mbps yet we're feeling the pinch of them in some situations (as anyone who's tried to copy several gigabytes of files can attest) and are looking at USB 3 which promises to achieve up to 2400Mbps.

So gigabits per second is going to be essential for 'the cloud' and even if that turns out to be a dud we'll still need it if we ever want to connect all out devices transparently over the internet.

And yeah, given that the gap has grown to an order of magnitude the higher priority should be getting everybody up to the same level rather than yet more speed for the most profitable areas.


June 25, 2010, 5:18 am

Virgin Media is to take its fibre cables above ground (on telegraph poles) for the first time in a move that could bring superfast broadband to millions of homes in hard-to-reach rural areas.

Well Virgin, Newport a town that has a 90% coverage but misses the Largest Housing Estate in Europe! You can start HERE and I can finally ditch BT .... are you listening Virgin?

Everyone reads Trusted Reviews right?

Bring it on there is no such thing as TOO FAST!

Andy C

June 25, 2010, 1:09 pm

Is it just me or are Virgin forgetting how the vast majority of people use the internet? i.e. wirelessly

Now its all good and well saying they're rolling out 400Mbps broadband but most wireless equipment wont go above 54Mbps.

Even with ethernet cables you would have to have a port on your PC that could deal with those speeds. Most laptops for example are only 100Mbps ports

It just seems a bit overkill if you ask me


June 25, 2010, 1:16 pm

I live

27 miles from the City of Westminster in London.

1.3 miles from the M4

When I had a fixed line speed some 4 years ago, I received 2Mb/s. Under ADSL Max a receive 1.3Mb/s max. Virgin provides hardly any coverage in my town (which has a population of 50k+.)

This countries broadband system is nothing short of a joke, and the fact that I have to pay the same as someone receiving 8Mb/s just because they live somewhere else just adds insult to injury. 100Mb/s in the next 5 years? No chance at least not for me.


June 25, 2010, 1:28 pm

@Andy "It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out that either the BBC/OFCOM opposed this or that it may even be illegal."

Since the Tories want to get rid of Ofcom and neuter the BBC, as they are in the pockets of News Corp, i wouldn't hold your breathe.


June 25, 2010, 2:00 pm

@Andy - My wireless connects at 150Mbps and my laptop from 5 years ago had a 1000Mbps port. By the time this comes out we will have even faster connections. I don't think this is even aimed at the home as it will probably cost a fortune.


June 25, 2010, 4:00 pm

Just an interesting fact.

I live in Latvia (that's a wee piece of garbage land near all mighty Russia) in a town that has a population of 10k (big village is what we call it), I'm getting around 10mbps a day/50mbps at night of unlimited bandwidth for a mere 4 pounds. The network is a simple net of the ordinary LAN cables (i.e. no modem or anything needed). And I love it.


June 25, 2010, 9:13 pm

I love reading stories about 400Mbit Internet and people complaining when I'm stuck on a 10Mbit line with a ridiculously low 60GB cap and it's throttled like crazy.


June 25, 2010, 11:45 pm

I think some of you are missing the point here ....

Yes much higher download speeds aren't going to make much difference to web browsing

But in a house with 2 adults and two teenagers - kids playing games or watching iplayer -

parents watching video listening to music - playing online games - and you're all using the internet to do all these things together - pretty soon you need a good fat pipe so it doesn't all slow to a crawl.

Faster faster faster - bring it on - I am hugging my 50 meg line right now :)


June 26, 2010, 12:07 am

@Placemat: I'd look into your connection, if you had a fixed 2Mbps line at the same address you should be getting far more than 1.3Mbps on ADSLMax, I'd be expecting at least 5-6Mbps.


June 26, 2010, 7:34 am

lol, 100MB for the first 3GB then throttles to 5MB for 5 hours :P

Virgin is a joke, and I really hope they don't maintain their monopoly on fibreoptic broadband forever (Ofcom doesn't care to stop them and BT is not an alternative).


June 27, 2010, 1:07 pm


sounds like you're on the wrong package - xxl doesnt have any download limits or throttling

Amazingly - virgin would like you to pay for using their service - the scoundrels !!!


June 29, 2010, 3:05 am

I am a long time customer of Virgin and have always been impressed with their broadband.

Very, very rare to get outages for me and my 50Mbit line gives me a constant 50Mbit at any time of the day - 6MB per second downloads :). And yes, I would like more :D

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