Virgin's 100Mbps broadband reaches 6.5m homes

Virgin Media's cable-based up-to-100Mbps broadband service is now available to more than a quarter of British homes, the company has announced.In a statement on Wednesday, Virgin said more than 6.

Virgin Media's cable-based up-to-100Mbps broadband service is now available to more than a quarter of British homes, the company has announced.

In a statement on Wednesday, Virgin said more than 6.5 million homes could get the service, which is theoretically equivalent in speed to BT's upcoming fibre-to-the-home products. Virgin intends to make up-to-100Mbps services available to almost 13 million homes by the middle of next year.

The company added that it had now upgraded upload speeds across 90 percent of its network. Those subscribing to the up-to-100Mbps download-speed service get upload speeds of up to 10Mbps, it said.

Jon James, Virgin Media's broadband chief, also reiterated in the statement that the company was trialling 200Mbps broadband "across the country", and testing out 1.5Gbps services in east London.

Virgin started selling its super-fast service in December 2010. It costs £45 per month, unless the customer already subscribes to Virgin's home phone services, in which case they pay £35 per month for the broadband product.

BT is well on its way in rolling out fibre-based, up-to-40Mbps 'BT Infinity' services to much of the country. However, those services only employ fibre as far as the street cabinet, with the 'last mile' of connectivity between the cabinet and the customers' premises relying on BT's legacy copper network.

However, BT said in May that it would "roughly double" its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) speeds in 2012.

BT services taking fibre all the way to homes and businesses were supposed to go live this summer, but in May the company told ZDNet UK that the timeframe was now "before Christmas", as field trials had uncovered various technical difficulties.

Virgin's up-to-100Mbps services also only take fibre as far as the street cabinet, with coaxial cable making up the last mile.

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