Virgin Media doubles broadband speedsVirgin Media promises free broadband speed upgrade

11 January 2012

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Virgin Media has revealed plans to double broadband speeds to its four million customers, with the top speed reaching 120Mbps over the next 18 months. The company says the move - which it claims will mean Virgin Media offers the UK's fastest broadband speeds - will be free for customers.

The company says the roll-out will begin in February 2012, with four million homes upgraded to faster speeds by the middle of 2013. Virgin Media says subscribers to its current 10Mbps, 20Mbps, 30Mbps and 50Mbps broadband services will see their speeds doubled. Customers already signed to Virgin Media's 100Mbps service will get a less generous boost to 120Mps - though Virgin Media says this will be the fastest broadband speed in the UK.

Virgin Media's broadband speed boost

The company says it will be providing new modems as part of the roll-out - and these have the capacity to eventually receive speeds of up to 400Mbps.

According to Virgin Media, the speed upgrades will see customers halve the time it takes to download data from the internet:

  • 10Mbps increased to 20Mbps
  • 20Mbps and 30Mbps increased to 60Mbps
  • 50Mbps increased to 100Mbps
  • 100Mbps increased to 120Mbps

The company says it plans to increase upstream speeds - how quickly data can be sent via a home PC over broadband back out to the internet - in line with the upgrade.

It also plans to extend the amount of data it allows before traffic management - known as broadband throttling - kicks in; when subscribers download too much data during peak usage times, such as weekends and evenings.

Virgin Media says the new service will significantly lower download times. Subscribers to its 120Mbps service will be able to download a film in less than five minutes, and a music album in less than five seconds. Simultaneous home users sharing a single broadband connection will also benefit, says the company, with less chance of broadband bottlenecks when several devices are connected to the internet.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, said: "Faster broadband speeds are great for customers and great for business, which is why our policy is to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the country by 2015. Virgin Media’s plans to double broadband speeds are really exciting and we applaud their ambition."

Superfast broadband

The move comes on the heels of government efforts to roll out superfast broadband across the UK by 2015, with the aim of 90% of UK homes accessing superfast broadband of at least 24Mbps within three years. The remaining 10% of homes should have access to broadband speeds of around 2Mbps, according to the government.

More on this...

  • Join the Which? Conversation on superfast broadband- is speed really your priority, or is broadband access the real problem?
  • How to increase your broadband speed with our free advice guide.
  • Find the best broadband provider and broadband service for you.