Virgin Media has given the clearest indication of its long-term plans, hours after BT announced that it will be rolling out fibre to the cabinet technology nationwide. This would allow users to experience broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps.
In an interview with the BBC, Virgin Media's chief executive Neil Berkett said that the cable company's FTTC network was able to reach speeds of up to 200Mbps but that upping the current 50Mbps will depend on market conditions.
Mr Berkett said that Virgin Media wouldn't see the returns right now for 100 or 150Mbps adding that "If BT were to meet the time frame they have suggested - of finishing by 2012 - I would see us as having much, much faster upstream speed, running at a minimum of 100Mbps downstream and possibly more. "
BT's deployment of FTTC technology covers 500,000 homes and businesses across England and Wales and heavily overlaps with Virgin Media's own cable network. This is not surprising given the fact that cable tend to be laid in densely populated areas and cabinets are normally found in city streets.
Virgin media's fibre optic network covers half all homes in the UK. It has released a 50Mbps service that uses EuroDOCSIS 3 for only £35 per month and may bump users from 10Mbps to 20Mbps by next year for free.
Interestingly, Virgin Media has not discounted the fact that it could well compete with BT in the Wholesale section by offering its services to third parties in a bid to bring in more revenues.
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Interesting comments indeed. It looks like Virgin Media is well placed to benefit from the thirst for high speed broadband that video on demand services like iPlayer have spurred. We were genuinely surprised at the cost of the 50Mbps package - only £35 when you take a Virgin phone line at £11. If Virgin allows seamless hardware bonding, we could well be heading for a £70 100Mbps broadband service.