It may be one of the most widely anticipated broadband roll-outs beyond the first products in 1999/2000 but Virgin is just a couple of weeks away from getting people onto its live 50Mbps cable broadband service.
The internet is of course a great place for rumours, and the big difficulty can be separating fact from hearsay. A visitor to our forums has 'leaked' some information on the forthcoming product, and similar information is appearing elsewhere.
The fact the roll-out will take to April 2009 to complete is not major news, but in terms of the state of broadband in the UK it is nice to know that some 40% of us will have a choice of a 50Meg product by then. Price wise the £52 remains unconfirmed and we have talked to Virgin Media who say that the price point is not set in stone yet. Some may be reluctant to sign-up due to the 12 month contract, but a new contract for a major upgrade is not uncommon with other broadband providers, and this does cover the new modem that will be needed.
The area of traffic management is the hardest to cover, as some become very emotive very quickly, but no figures have been set yet, or whether it will be used at all. The main thrust appears to be that the 50Mbps product is on a new network with lots of capacity, so it is likely that Virgin Media will wait to see how people use it.
For those biting at the bit to order the 50Mbps product, one word of warning, to get the most from it you may need to upgrade your home network. 802.11g wireless routers will limit you in terms of speeds for wireless activity, and many routers may not cope well with an Internet connection running at 50Mbps.