Virgin Media: 200 MB broadband by 2012
July 24, 2008

Virgin Media CTO Howard Watson has said the cablenet is looking to offer its broadband customers speeds of 200 Mbps by 2012. In an interview with Reuters, Watson said the company’s vision was part of the same investment that will see the rollout of 50 Mbps service on its fibre optic network by the middle of next year.

Virgin continues to play on the current availability of fibre optic technology in its advertising as opposed to BT’s traditional copper network. BT has annouced a Ł1.5 billion programme to take its speeds up to 100 Mbps, but the two are effectively engaged in a game of ‘broadband chicken’ with Virgin holding its speeds to 50 Mbps until market conditions require an upgrade, and BT looking to just 40 Mbps in the near term.

Watson told Reuters of a gradual increase in broadband usage in trial homes after new services were introduced. “If you take a 20 MB customer (on to 50 MB), on day one or two you might see a relatively small increase in usage but by day 60 or 65 they’re using 50 MB per second quite easily,” he said. Increases were reported in video downloading, online gaming and file sharing.

The comments came on the day when the UK music industry represented by the BPI agreed with Virgin, BT, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse to issue warning letters to subscribers illegally downloading music content. However, none of the ISPs concerned are prepared to cut off offending customers.

(Source: BroadBand TV News)