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A mystery conference called by Virgin Media on December 15th looks almost certain to be the launch date for the provider's new 50Mb fibre-optic broadband service.

Journalists have been invited to an event with an undisclosed theme and many are predicting that the meeting is in fact a promotional unveiling of Virgin Media's super-fast offering.

Pictures have already been circulating of the new-look, sleek modem which customers signing up for the services will use.

Patrick Goss of Tech Radar believes the provider will raise the bar in the UK fixed-line market with the introduction of the service.

He said: "The fibre optic service will speed past everything currently available - and Virgin Media has been working towards the launch for months.

"The company has already publicised the failure of online speed testers to cope with the speed of ultra-fast broadband in the run up to the launch, after public trials of the service in Kent showed up major discrepancies."

Virgin Media has so far refused to confirm the nature of the event to news providers enquiring as to its purpose.

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