Virgin Media has announced this morning that it now has the capacity to service more than one million homes with its 100Mbps broadband service, the fastest in the UK and expects the complete roll out of the service to be done in roughly 15 months.
Dozens of other locations are expected to receive 100Mbps connectivity by September 2011 according to a schedule released this morning by Virgin Media (pdf here). By mid 2012, all 13 million households - roughly half of the residences in the country - currently serviced by the cable provider will get access to the ultra high speed broadband.
Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media said that "When we finish the roll-out of 100Mb across our network, half the country will have access to ultrafast broadband. That’ll be six years ahead of EU targets."
Crucially, Virgin Media is well ahead of its main competitor, BT, which committed to reaching out to two thirds of the UK households within 2015. Virgin Media could leverage its strategic advantage and a three year lead to launch its own Wi-Fi network or even challenge BT with a wholesale Wi-Fi & cable offer.
The 100Mbps deal carries a suggested retail price of £45 per month when purchased as a stand alone product and comes with a SuperHub that is capable of delivering up to 400Mbps in the future, has GbE connectors and 802.11n Wireless.
That said, there are other ways of driving the cost down; taking a bundle (phone, TV and mobile) is one, going through dedicated channel partners who often offer steep discounts.