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Virgin Media is to work with SamKnows to test the exact speed, quality and reliability of its home broadband service.

The internet service provider is the first to have partnered with the broadband testing company, which evaluates broadband performance nationwide on behalf of regulator Ofcom.

Unlike web-based broadband connection tests, the SamKnows solution is hardware based, meaning that it is able to measure jitter and latency as well as speeds.

Such factors as these can often affect the quality of voice, video and gaming broadband services without there being a noticeable drop in speed.

Virgin Media will roll out the technology to 750 of its customers over the next 12 months and then use the results of the data to ensure that their broadband packages - including the 50Mb fibre-optic option - are performing as they should.

"This deal represents a significant shift in service provider attitudes," said Alex Salter, Chairman of SamKnows.

"Instead of simply complying with external regulation, in a pioneering step, Virgin Media is proactively looking to assess itself to make sure its customers are getting value for money."

Last month, Virgin Media revealed plans to launch a new DRM-free music streaming and downloading service for its customers, which will feature music from the Universal catalogue.

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