In one short announcement an EU Digital Agenda 2020 goal is within grasping distance seven years ahead of the deadline. Virgin Media has announced that as of February 2014 it will be rolling out a 152 Mbps (double the speed of Openreach FTTC services) download service on its cable broadband network that passes some 12.5 million homes in the UK.
The slight dampener is that from February cable customers can expect bills to increase by 6.7% on average, we will follow up with full details once we have them, though the sweetener is that another network and speed upgrade programme will take place, to increase existing customers speeds by at least 20 Mbps. Once completed we believe that would mean that all of the four million or so fibre based broadband customers are on a super fast service.
Update 4:30pm The upload speeds will apparently remain static, and the 152 Mbps download service will have a 12 Mbps upload speed, i.e. match the current 120 Mbps service where it is available.
The press release is also now available on the Virgin Media website and while we are excited about extra speed for consumers we would disagree with the headline used in the press release "New Virgin Media broadband twice as fast as anyone else" since there are farmers in Lancashire with 1 Gbps, apartments in London via Hyperoptic with the same sorts of speeds, several villages in Oxfordshire and a good number of homes in the Beverley/Hull area where faster speeds via KC are available and not forgetting the small issue of the FTTP available in the areas Openreach has its native FTTP network (offers 160 Mbps and 330 Mbps tiers in addition to the slower ones). The sub-headline which adds the qualification of 'fastest widely available broadband' and with that proviso it may be fair to agree.