Virgin Media brings up to 50 Mbps service back to the table
After a few years where older slower products were retired as new services with ever higher headline speeds appeared Virgin Media has today re-launched its up to 50 Mbps service under the title Vivid 50 fibre broadband.
The service is available on a 12 month contract at £26/m with the price rising £32.25 thereafter, and is a broadband only option, i.e. not TV or telephone service (£20 activation fee applies, but if premises needs an engineer visit to install the cable network (coax or fibre) for the first time an additional engineer fee will apply). The 30 day rolling contract option available on the 100/200/300 products does not appear to be available currently. Upload speeds are expected to be up to 3 Mbps.
A dual service package of broadband and phone line is available on a 12 month contract again, £20 activation and £29/m for 12 months then £40/m thereafter. Package includes free weekend calls to UK landlines, 0870 numbers and Virgin Media mobile numbers.
The £26/m price clearly pitches the service in a head to head battle with firms like Plusnet and TalkTalk who are fighting it out in the superfast 'fibre' broadband price wars and in theory if the network in an area is up to the task the up to 50 Mbps should be good for streaming Ultra HD, so might be a better bet than for those where VDSL2/FTTC would be slow, Though in most urban areas the cabinet density for FTTC/VDSL2 is such that almost everyone gets good superfast speeds (of course those still stuck with exchange only lines will find the cable speeds a lot better than ADSL2+ but one would have expected to have already upgraded).
One other reason for the re-launch may be that with a move to median speeds or a range of speeds i.e. 20th to 80th percentile Virgin Media are expecting the up to 50 Mbps service to still be sold at the 50 Mbps figure, the joy of a fixed connection speed technology whereas VDSL2/FTTC services may see advertised speeds drop. The key will be whether adverts have to include peak time performance or not and how granular that has to be e.g. TV adverts national average and billboards and local newspaper adverts to feature more localised figures.