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Virgin to roll out 100Mbps service by year end

ISP extending trial of 200Mbps net access

Virgin Media has revealed it will roll out a 100Mbps broadband service by the end of 2010.

The ISP said the new service would allow web users to download a music album in as little as 5 seconds, an hour long TV show in 31 seconds and an HD movie in 7 minutes 25 seconds.

"There is nothing we can't do with our fibre optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100Mb service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience," said Virgin Media's chief executive officer, Neil Berkett.

"Just as we led the way by launching the UK's first ever next generation service, we want to keep giving our customers the very best broadband available, by investing in technological innovation and transforming the experience they have when they are online."

Virgin's fastest service to-date is a 50Mbps package, which was launched in December 2008.

The ISP has forged ahead with the 100Mbps service, despite comments made by Berkett last year, that super-fast internet access would not be financially viable.

"When we look at the market I don't see us getting the returns right now for 100 or 150Mbps," he told the BBC.

"As we work with application providers and content providers... there will be a natural point where we upgrade from 10, 20 and 50Mbps to something more. If BT were to meet the time frame they have suggested - of finishing by 2012 - I would see us as having much, much faster upstream speed, running at a minimum of 100Mbps downstream and possibly more."

Michael Phillips, product director, at Broadbandchoices said the launch was encouraging.

"Virgin Media's announcement today of 100Mb broadband comes hot on the heels of BT's recent superfast Infinity launch. It's encouraging to see Virgin Media and BT - the two largest broadband providers in the UK - both pushing forwards with the rollout of ever faster services," he said.

"There's no denying that customers want faster speeds, they also specifically want broadband providers to actually deliver the headline-grabbing speeds they advertise."

Virgin also revealed it plans to extend its trial of a 200Mbps service. The trial, which began in Kent in May 2009, will now be extended to customers in Coventry.

See also: Virgin Media offers free calls to Virgin Mobile numbers

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