After what feels like months of being drip fed minor details about the Virgin Media 50 meg product, we finally have the official details.
It is to be known as the XXL package and will have a monthly fee of £51 (including VAT). As expected there will be a 12 month contract for those migrating onto the product from an existing Virgin Media broadband package, or signing up for the first time. Subscribers to the XXL package will receive a N wireless router with their new cable modem to ensure the wireless network in the home is not the bottleneck. Upload speeds will initially be 1.5Mbps with options to increase this in the future.
The monthly price of the XXL product is actually lower if you take an optional telephone line from Virgin Media, with this double play bundle costing £46. The triple play bundle of television, 50Meg broadband and a telephone line works out at £66 a month.
The product will be rolled out in phases, with some 1.3 million customers having the product available to order from today. 10Mbps (L) and 20Mbps (XL) customers will also be moved onto the new network, but will not get a new modem which means that while their connect speeds will not increase, they may find that congestion is less of an issue. The capacity this frees up on the old DOCSIS 1.0 network may also resolve some of the local congestion that people see currently.
The roll-out to cover all the 12.6 million homes passed by the Virgin Media network will complete during the summer of 2009.
By taking a gamble and launching a product with no traffic management suggests that Virgin Media is confident that it has created a large enough network to cope with hundreds of thousands of people downloading the internet. Of course if the majority do decide to try and build the worlds largest repository of internet data at home, they may change their minds, but for now we have a next generation product that people can go and use, and the content providers may now have a market to whom they can sell true HD online video.