Super fast 100Mb broadband from Virgin Media will go on sale in a matter of weeks, it has been confirmed, offering consumers a maximum connection speed twice the current upper limit and twenty times the UK average.
A connection of 100Mb promises to transform the web experience for consumers, offering downloads in a fraction of the time they currently experience with the average connection speed of 5.3Mb, according to Ofcom data. With Virgin Media’s product, a music album can be downloaded in as little as five seconds and a TV show in 30 seconds. Meanwhile, movies would take around one and a half minutes, with a high-definition film estimated at about seven minutes.
According to the broadband supplier, the service will be priced from £45 per month as a standalone product. When bought as part of a bundle, it will be priced from £35 per month, depending on which other Virgin Media products and services subscribers sign up for.
Also provided for subscribers is a specially made energy efficient combined modem and wireless ‘N’ router. This is future-proofed so that it can deliver speeds of up to 400Mb, when Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband network is used to deliver faster connections in future.
Interested parties can pre-register for the service today, ahead of it officially becoming available in select areas of the UK from December. The first locations where it will be rolled out are parts of London, the South East and Yorkshire, with the roll-out expected to be complete by mid 2012.
Neil Berkett, Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Media, said: “The launch of our 100Mb service is a significant milestone in the UK’s broadband evolution and a vivid illustration of the power of our next generation network.
“From establishing the UK’s first ever broadband service in 2000 to the launch of 100Mb in 2010, in the space of just ten years, Virgin Media has led the greatest developments in digital Britain.”
He added: “The world of possibilities that broadband will enable is set to explode and we’re excited about the innovations we can bring to consumers in the next decade.”
Alex Buttle, Director of Top10.com, welcomed the news, describing Virgin Media's product as "pushing the envelope of broadband technology".
Mr Buttle stated: "Although 100Mb speeds enable consumers to download an album in seconds or a HD movie in minutes; this announcement is really about the future of the internet and broadband as the centrepiece of the digital home. The next era of the internet will be about internet-connected TVs, sofa computing and high bandwidth apps, and 100Mb broadband lays the groundwork for these applications of the future.
"Virgin Media's announcement comes in face of increased competition from BT's own 100Mb product - BT Infinity - although Virgin claim they will have their product available to more UK homes more quickly than BT. With prices starting from £45 their 100Mb is also set to compete on more than just speed.
"The announcement is also a lifeline for the coalition government, which is committed to providing superfast broadband across the UK despite massive cuts in public spending. 100Mb broadband offers a glimmer of hope for the UK which currently sits in 26th place in terms of global broadband speeds."
Virgin Media’s cable broadband network, which at the moment features a headline speed of up to 50Mb, currently reaches some 13 million households across the UK.