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Virgin Unveils Its 50Mbit Cable Modem

Gordon Kelly


Virgin Unveils Its 50Mbit Cable Modem

It will be the UK's fastest nationwide broadband service when it launches and clearly that as-yet-unknown-date is imminent...

How can we know? Well Virgin Media has kicked off a viral campaign for the stunningly quick package today as it revealed the stylish new modem that will be provided to all customers looking to access these breakneck speeds. And here it is:

Taking cue from the ever fashionable piano black, the device has to meet key specs to attain its ballistic top end including:

  • EuroDOCSIS 3.0 / DOCSIS 3.0 Operation

  • EuroDOCSIS / DOCSIS 1.0 / 1.1 / 2.0 Compatible

  • Support for four channel bonding

  • Ethernet Interface (RJ-45) (10/100/1000 Mbps compatible)
Complicated these may sound (Ethernet aside) but in essence they are fundamental in establishing and maintaining what will represent a new high watermark in mainstream broadband connections. Of course, Virgin is well placed to make these jumps since - unlike BT which began an extensive and long-term £1.5bn fibre optic roll-out in July - Branson's baby already uses fibre optics across its entire cable network.

Equally interesting, is that while DSL based technologies see performance drop off markedly with increased distance from an exchange, cable is only affected by customer congestion meaning outside peak hours you can expect to hit almost all, if not all, of your quoted speed. Late night download nirvana...

So, now we just await pricing and availability. Please Virgin, tells us - after all, we've been teased with your 50Mbit service since November 2007...


Virgin Media


November 7, 2008, 8:42 pm

Num num num! Issue instruction to bank to increase savings in time of worldwide recession or issue instruction to Virgin Media to auto-upgrade meh, i say auto-upgrade meh!


November 7, 2008, 8:43 pm

puts my 2 last gen ntl boxes to shame...

sometimes i wish that along with the interface switch virgin media guys would replace for free all old ntl set top boxes and modems... apparently not.

Jon 2

November 7, 2008, 9:24 pm

What is the point in having 50mb line, If Virgin are going to roll out there terrible fair use policy which throttles you if you download something. Surely the hole point of paying for a large connection is so you can download movies etc and not be penalized. Its about time all these companies let you have what you pay no restrictions.


November 7, 2008, 9:26 pm

Do you think this will be the catalyst for BT Wholesale to stop telling me my 400 kbps connection is more than fast enough, and a bargain at only &#16317.99 a month?


November 7, 2008, 9:38 pm

Mmmm, gigabit ethernet on teh modem.


November 7, 2008, 9:42 pm

@Jon - I'd suspect there will be much larger allowances on the 50Mbit package - there are on the 20Mbit service verses the 10Mbit, so fingers' crossed.

Lee Marshall

November 7, 2008, 10:05 pm


NTL/Virgin have owned our local cable network for many years (taking over from BT Cable) but still they refuse to offer us anything except Analogue Cable TV.

No Broadband, No Telephone = No customers.......


November 7, 2008, 11:05 pm

Hmm...the fastest broadband connection in the business, and the worst customer service. Such a dilemma...


November 7, 2008, 11:14 pm

I second Jon on this one; as this will provide Virgin with a de-facto monopoly at this speed, I would expect the service and the general conditions to deteorate further (as there is not competition). Users can probably expect 5Mbps real-world speed (which corresponds to the 10% of advertised speed users mention in Virgin forums).

Barry Ward

November 7, 2008, 11:38 pm

There are already many 20Mbit users who claim they are not getting their full speed. Then there is the capping, which reduced my speed to a quarter when I was with them. I couldn't even rent a film from iTunes without being capped! Unfortunately people are going to be suckered into this 50Mbit nonsense and will be disappointed. Only casual browsers won't be capped, and if you're a casual browser is it worth having these speeds?


November 8, 2008, 12:36 am

Agree with Jon.

It's not about the speed that entices people to a broadband package, but the ability to use the internet without considering how much they are charged for their various activities. I'll take 2mb unlimited over 50mb with a 20gb unlimited cap anyday.


November 8, 2008, 3:59 am

Agree with Jon & Darkspark88-

'50Mb connection'- who cares? It's all a lie anyway considering you only ever receive 1/10th of the advertised speed - What's with that anyway? I don't care if you live *inside* the exchange - you're never gonna get a 50Mb connection!

The reviewers should stop playing up to the big numbers - it's got little to do with speed, (if it can stream video, then that's fast enough for most with the Internet's current content availability ) and EVERYTHING to do with limited total bandwidth and retarded 'allowances'. Sorry...but this makes my blood boil!


November 8, 2008, 4:37 am

are u guys a customer of virginmedia since your complaining about it?

its a very well known fact that if someone has a bad service they will tell upto 10 times more people than people with good service.

i have been a customer of virginmedia/ntl/telewest since they came to my area and never once had a complaint about any of the service. yet BT was despicable service. the broardband speed is always top end and as for the usage policy, while i think there shouldnt be one at all, it ends at 8pm and thats when i do most of my internet surfing so it never ever affects me


November 8, 2008, 4:41 am

edit: 9pm is when the usage ends

and at least if you do go over the limit u will not be charged anything

and the big issue about speed is it will be excelent for HD streaming and they will most likely have a much higher cap limit compared even to the 20mb package


November 8, 2008, 5:15 am

I amd a Virgin customer and until 2 Thursdays ago no problems. Old ntl modem started playing up so I disconnected it by removing the fibre connection. when it came back up no longer did the iplayer work. After numerous conversations virgin are insiting there servers are in the UK. BBC are saying otherwise the I am not in the UK (I live in Rugby as evidenced on this forum in the past.) Now the question who do I trust most Virgin or THE BBC? I will await Virgin to correct the probelm as they issue the IP address that the BBC check.


November 8, 2008, 3:47 pm

agree Jon + Darkspark, I'm on 2GB now but used to have premium service. try downloading a game patch or mod now that's over 1GB, you won't be able to play till the following day. it was better when it was NTL, Virgin seems to be the kiss of death for everything it takes over.


November 9, 2008, 3:56 am

NTL/Virgin broadband is a complete load of rubbish. Every time I try to use Skype with video their service goes up and down like a fiddlers elbow. Their bandwidth is ridiculouly oversold. Of course spending money on improving reliablility wouldn't get them free advertising on sites like this. If I had a choice I would change in an instant.


November 9, 2008, 4:10 am

I must be one of the few who actually like my Virgin connection. I'm paying for 10Mbit and getting it. As for the traffic-shaping, I just leave my downloading until after 9pm. At least with Virgin offering 50Mbit, it might spur BT to pull their finger out, upgrade the network, and roll out faster speeds.

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