Virgin Media is rapidly trying to brand itself as the broadband provider for the United Kingdom with its incorporation of the Union Flag into its logo. Looking at the actual financial figures though shows the difference between the two networks they operate, the fibre/coax hybrid and the DSL based National service.
The third quarter in 2011 saw Virgin Media with a net add of 24,300 cable customers, but lose 5,200 customers on the DSL network. Figures for the first nine months of 2011 appear to show a similar pattern 61,800 adds to the cable broadband network, and a lose of 15,200 DSL customers.
Most importantly the mix of subscribers to the faster cable products is improving, some 187,000 are taking the two fastest products of 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps, and 54% of new customers subscribe to the 30 Mbps or faster service. The end result of all this is that over one million cable broadband households (26%) are on a 20 Mbps or faster service. The firm has some 4,072,900 cable broadband customers, and 260,700 on the DSL (non-cable) network.
The future for UK broadband continues to look good, with Virgin Media's 100 Mbps rollout still on plan to finish in mid 2012, which will give some eight million homes the option of the 100 Mbps service.
The doubling of take-up for the fastest service in the last twelve months is encouraging, but does not represent a landslide move towards premium products. The price difference (10 Mbps costing £13.50 a month, and 50 Mbps £25 - prices assume a telephone subscription) would seem to be the sticking point, and reflects a purchasing attitude of buying the cheapest service that is adequate.
We were going to talk about the upload speeds of the Virgin Media cable products, but clicking around the broadband sales section, we find lots of comments about download speed, but nothing on the upstream speed, even when comparing the packages.