The web 2.0 phenomenon of user generated content means that more users will be looking to upload content to the Internet over their broadband connections. Whilst products are generally advertised based on the headline 'up to' download speeds, upload speeds are often overlooked.
Virgin Media has today announced it will be upgrading all its cable broadband packages to at least double the upload speeds. Customers on its cheapest package will see an increase from 512Kbps to 1Mbps whilst those on its XXL 'up to 50 meg' service will see an increase from 1.5Mbps to 5Mbps, setting a new standard for broadband services. Customers will not be required to sign a new contract and will receive the upgrade as soon as their area is enabled. Upload speeds of 5Mbps will significantly change what consumers are able to do, such as using some high definition video conferencing platforms.
"We're once again pushing the boundaries of UK broadband with a true next generation broadband service that vastly outperforms struggling DSL-based services. With the huge growth in social networks these new upload speeds will help Virgin Media customers share their most precious moments and keep up with what friends and families are up to, whether it’s uploading to YouTube or even hosting a live videochat to show off baby’s first steps in high-definition."Jon James, executive director of broadband, Virgin Media
The upgrade will also involve rolling out traffic management over the platform, something its '50 meg' XXL users have not yet been subjected to. This will prioritise 'real-time' traffic such as video streaming over peer-to-peer and newsgroups activity to attempt to ensure all users get a good experience. At least 75% of network resources will be reserved for time-sensitive traffic. The top 5% of users may find their service slows down at peak times to ensure the remaining 95% receive a good service. This means heavy uploaders on the XXL package may find their upload speeds cut to 1.75Mbps, which is nevertheless faster than the 1.5Mbps they receive at the moment without traffic shaping.
|Product||Download||Current Upload||New Upload|
|M||'up to 10 meg'||512 Kbps||1 Mbps|
|L||'up to 10 meg'||512 Kbps||1 Mbps|
|XL||'up to 20 meg'||768 Kbps||2 Mbps|
|XXL||'up to 50 meg'||1.5 Mbps||5 Mbps|
The first areas to receive faster upload speeds will be Enfield, Huddersfield, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick.
Traffic management of some sort was inevitable, and Virgin's increase of upload speeds does appear to offset the effect on the heaviest users. The move seeks to firm up Virgin's premium position in the UK broadband market for offering one of the fastest possible services available to over half of the country.