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Thanks to its range of 50Mb broadband deals, Virgin Media’s status as the fastest broadband provider in the UK is pretty much unchallenged. In positioning itself in the market in this way, it’s likely to have won new custom from demographics who might not otherwise be a natural Virgin customer. Not least the hardcore gaming fraternity and heavy users who we suspect have flocked to sign up for their service.

This week, however, saw the company announce a move that will play just as well with the mass market of broadband users, when it confirmed that it is beginning to transfer its customer base onto Google’s e-mail service.

We think this is a smart move – especially in view of the occasional unreliability of the company’s in-house e-mail platforms. In the past this has resulted in some customers being without e-mail for several days. Whatever faults Gmail may have, it is nothing if not reliable. And stability is exactly what ISPs will need to project to consumers this year as they look to limit customer churn.

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