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Broadband speeds to double for four million Virgin Media customers

Together with a new 120Mbps headline broadband speed...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Together with a new 120Mbps headline broadband speed...

Virgin Media is to double the broadband speeds of more than four million of its customers, starting from next month.

The cable broadband provider has today announced a £110m upgrade programme to boost headline speeds across all packages it offers - with many set to double in speed.

Virgin Media engineers

Virgin Media is boosting the broadband speeds of four million customersPhoto: Virgin Media

It is also raising the ceiling on the highest speed package it currently offers - pushing 100Mbps subscribers on to a package with a theoretical maximum of 120Mbps. Rival broadband provider BT's current top speed broadband offering is 100Mbps.

The upgrades will also mean Virgin Media customers on the 10Mbps package will see their headline broadband download speed double to 20Mbps; customers on the 20Mbps and 30Mbps packages will get a speed hike to 60Mbps; while customers on 50Mbps will get lifted on to the 100Mbps service.

The company says upload and 'fair usage' limits will be "increased in proportion" to the new headline download speeds.

The upgrades are free and will be automatically applied to customers, according to a Virgin Media spokesman, although users on its 20Mbps package will first need their modem swapping out (also free of charge).

Virgin Media said the upgrade will start rolling out from February and is expected to be completed by mid-2013. During this 18-month timeframe the spokesman said the company's broadband prices may increase, as they do periodically, but there is no specific charge being applied for the speed upgrades.

The company produces a monthly 'typical speeds' chart detailing the performance of some of its broadband packages. It defines typical speeds as the speed that at least two-thirds of its customers get on average in a 24 hour period. In December 2011, the 50Mbps package produced a typical speed of 49.89Mbps, according to the data.

Real world broadband speeds are affected by many factors - not simply the headline speed supported by the broadband package. Network capacity, for instance, can seriously affect speeds achieved by users.

Last November telco BT launched its fastest ever broadband speed offering - a 100Mbps service - however the package is a small number of customers - with availability limited to "some streets" in 10 exchange areas.

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