Virgin starts 50Mbit/s broadband rollout

Virgin Media has upgraded part of its fibre optic telecoms network to support maximum 50Mbit/s Internet download speeds, with new broadband packages available for £51 a month including VAT.

The higher speed services will initially be available to around 1.3 million existing customers in as yet unspecified areas of Scotland, the Midlands and South London.

Rollout to the rest of the other 12.6 million UK homes covered by the network will be complete by summer 2009, said the company.

Upload speeds are limited to just 1.5Mbit/s and while few, if any, subscribers are likely to see actual 50Mbit/s data speeds, they should still get more bandwidth than Virgin’s existing 10-20Mbit/s broadband packages and enough headroom for high-definition TV, film and music downloads as well as shared Internet in multi-user households.

Under pressure from telecoms watchdog Ofcom, Virgin Media recently signed up to a voluntary code of conduct designed to make sure that ISPs do not mislead customers over broadband speeds.

By moving large numbers of subscribers to the new DOCSIS 3.0 network, which supports download speeds of up to 200Mbit/s, Virgin says customers left using the older DOCSIS 1.0 network may experience fewer congestion and performance issues.

Virgin Media's new broadband service was launched by singer and 'Strictly Come Dancing' finalist Rachel Stevens at the Hospital Club, London. 

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