Virgin completes 50Mbps network


Virgin Media has completed the UK’s first next generation broadband network and will be the first company to offer broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps to more than 12 million residences.

The company will introduce a new pricing structure for its 50Mbps service from September 1. For new and existing customers it will cost £28 per month when taken with a phone line, or £38 if taken as a sole product.

Virgin Media will this week also launch the “Freedom” netbook, its first ever branded laptop.  The bespoke laptop, available in black or Virgin red, has been optimised for the 50Mbps connection. It will be free on selected 24-month packages featuring both mobile and fixed line products.

The Freedom Netbook features Microsoft Windows XP with Microsoft Works suite, anti-virus software, Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM, wireless connection, memory card reader and webcam.

Virgin Media executive director of broadband Jon James said: “As the first company to bring broadband to the UK 10 years ago, the completion of our next-generation network marks another pioneering moment for internet access in the UK. We are delighted with the performance and reliability of our 50Mbps service, and with the customer feedback. Now the roll-out is days from being complete, we’re ready to take 50Mbps to the next stage of development and reinforce our leading position in the broadband market.”

Virgin Media executive director of sales Peter Taddeo added: “With its bespoke design and fantastic value software package, our new Virgin Media branded laptops are sure to be a real hit with customers. The Freedom netbook is a great bit of kit and the handy size means that people will be able to access their broadband service at home as well as when they are on the move.”

The network completion means Virgin Media has tripled its broadband capacity. It will also start a new pilot to trial a range of upload speeds of up to 10Mbps and explore the demand for higher upstream speeds on services such as video conferencing, multiplayer gaming and home working. 
Additionally, Virgin Media is currently piloting the deployment of 200Mbps download speeds in Ashford, Kent.