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Virgin Media Responds to BT's Fibre Broadband Plan
By: MarkJ - 15 July, 2008 (1:42 PM)

Naturally this mornings announcement by BT of a major new 1.5 billion programme to roll out fibre-based, super-fast broadband to as many as 10 million homes by 2012 has caused a bit of a stir (news).

The move could be seen as a threat to Virgin Media, which already operates a far more established fibre broadband network (HFC/FTTC), although this is not quite the same fibre optic (FTTP, FTTC) technology as BT are proposing to use.

We were keen to find out what Virgin Media thought of this new development and have received the following statement from James Kydd, VM's MD of Marketing and Brand:

"We've long believed that super-fast broadband is what people want and we're not surprised some of our competitors are now trying to play catch up. We've already invested 13 billion in a fibre-optic network and the launch of our 50Mb product later this year will mean 12 million UK consumers won't have to wait to get access to next generation broadband.

Our 50Mb trialists have already experienced the power of superfast broadband and we're excited that we will soon be able to offer this to millions of UK homes.

Virgin Media also informed us that the technology they are deploying would allow them to reach downstream speeds of over 300Mbps using DOCSIS3.0, although this is very much a hypothetical ideal until an actual service is presented; much like BT's 1000Mbps quote this morning.

There may also come a time when Virgin Media itself may be placed into the position of having to contemplate opening its own network up, much as BT will be doing.

Meanwhile another of BT's rivals, The Carphone Warehouse, has been hit by a 7%+ share tumble because of the news. Typically Carphone, like others such as BSkyB, O2 and Tiscali, all make use of unbundled (LLU) networks. Concerns over how accessible BT's newer fibre products might be could threaten this business model.

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