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Virgin Media to Launch 200Mbps Broadband by 2012
By: MarkJ - 24 July, 2008 (9:15 AM)

Virgin Media's chief technology officer, Howard Watson, has told Reuters in an interview that the cable provider plans to offer broadband speeds of 'up to' 200Mbps by 2012. The move would be part of Virgin's on-going broadband investment strategy and will include the freeing up of extra capacity on its network:

"We are setting ourselves a vision of households using 200 MB per second by 2012," he said. "The current technology that we're investing in to roll out the 50 MB per second over the next 12 months has inherent within it that extra capability."

The move could also cause BT a headache or two, which recently announced plans to spend 1.5bn rolling out an 'up to' 100Mbps fibre optic service in the UK over a similar timeframe.

Naturally faster services can also increase usage and Virgin Media has been using trials of its forthcoming 50Mbps product, which is due out by the middle of next year, to test consumer consumption habits:

"If you take a 20 MB customer (on to 50 MB), on day one or two you might see a relatively small increase in usage but by day 60 or 65 they're using 50 MB per second quite easily," he said.

"(We saw) a lot more video downloading, a lot more online gaming, file sharing and generally a lot more communication with others."

One method that Virgin will pursue to free up extra capacity is to move its remaining analogue TV customers on to more efficient digital platforms by the end of 2009. Watson also rejected the idea of opening its network up to wholesaling just because BT will soon enter the fibre optic / cable market, at least for now.

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