Virgin Media has this morning announced its results for the third quarter of 2010 showing an increase in turnover by 6.4% to £978m with average revenue per user increasing to £46.38. The company has added 14,100 net new cable customers in the quarter and the company has disclosed it has over 91,600 users on its 50 meg broadband service, this figure is up by 23.8% compared to the previous quarter. The 20 meg product has some 616,700 users.
Perhaps the least well kept secret is Virgin's announcement that it will start offering 100Mbps broadband services by the end of 2010, although those rushing to place orders should be aware that rollout across the full network will take well into 2012. Initial areas where 100Mbps services will be available include Enfield, Chelmsford, Farnborough and Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire. The rollout areas for 100Mbps will be tracking those areas due to receive upstream speed upgrades.
"Our continued focus on exploiting our strategic advantages with the resulting multiple opportunities for revenue growth, as well as robust financial discipline has delivered another strong financial performance this quarter. We are extending our lead in broadband even further with the imminent availability of 100Mb as consumer demand for consistently faster broadband grows."Neil Berkett, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media, said:
One of the key benefits of super-fast broadband today is the ability to share the connection with the household without slowing a download to a crawl when someone else starts using the Internet. Faster speeds also encourage new and innovative use of the Internet for applications yet to be developed. Virgin Media has been at the forefront of pushing download speeds to new highs.
10Mbps Upstream speed boost–The new service will feature a 10Mbps upstream speed, in line with Virgin Media's network design to deliver a 10:1 download-to-upload speed ratio across all services. This is a significant development and will open up opportunities for high definition video conferencing in the home. This will also be welcome by those who upload photos and videos, or use cloud computing services to store their data.
Traffic Management–Network-level protocol based traffic management will be in place which protects the quality of service for quality-sensitive applications such as video streaming. This will mean that during peak times (5pm-midnight on weekdays and noon to midnight on weekends), peer-to-peer protocols and newsgroup downloads may be shaped to manage capacity, however it is not expected that subscriber-based traffic management (i.e. managing heavy users) will be in place at this time.
New router–The customer premises equipment (CPE) will also be overhauled with a new "SuperHub" combined modem, router and wireless access point, featuring four Gigabit ports and 802.11n wireless right from the box. This kit is also capable of channel bonding to deliver up to 400Mbps in the future.
Pricing–The 100Mbps services will be available from £35/month for customers with a telephone line (£11.99/month) and those with other Virgin Media services may see further discounts. The product is available on a standalone basis for £45/month for those just wanting broadband. Activation will cost £30 and installation £40. These prices are set at a highly competitive rate in what appears to be a clear signal that Virgin intends to retain its premium position in the UK consumer broadband market.
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