The Virgin Media 50Mbps cable broadband product that relies on DOCSIS 3.0 to offer 50Mbps speeds initially and could run at 200Mbps by bonding channels together in the future is the worst kept industry secret of December 2008.
The unanswered questions are what price will the service be, and whether it will have traffic management like the other products in the Virgin Media cable range. We think there are two likely options for the product:
The 50Mbps product will, once roll-out is completed, bring the option of next generation broadband speeds to some 46% of UK households. The big question that everyone is wondering is how popular the service will be. Currently 10% of Virgin Media broadband customers opt for the most expensive 20Mbps product, with a massive 71% watching their pennies by opting for the slowest 2Mbps product.
If within 18 months, Virgin Media can have 10% of its customers on the 50Mbps product, this is likely to encourage its competitors to push on with next generation investment. A price point that makes it unpopular may impact on how willing investors are to spend money on getting next generation services to the remaining 54% of UK households.