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Virgin ducks Sky to focus on broadband

Virgin Media has decided to focus on faster broadband speeds in its battle to win customers from rivals such as Sky. It's Branson's browsing in the red corner, and Murdoch's films and movies in the blue.

Big cheeses at Virgin Media today told the world that improving broadband speeds, rather than prising a way into the premium television market, was the key to rattling Sky's cage.

Virgin's acting CEO Neil Berkett said that Web 2.0 features - such as on-demand video - would attract customers to the better performance potential of Virgin's cable broadband. Berkett reckons that his company's killer advantage over Murdoch's Sky mob is the higher broadband speeds that its cable can churn out.

Talking about Virgin Media's broadband offering, Berkett said: "Despite our technical advantage we are still not really standing out from the crowd. I really do want to re-focus our energies on to the broadband platform."

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Virgin's Berkett added that the ideal Virgin customer doesn't hanker after top sport and movies but wants more content than Freeview.

"Think of Freeview as a nursery and you have millions of kindergarten kids who once they have got the taste for multi-channel TV may upgrade an element of the service."

Er, quite.

Many customers migrated from Virgin to Sky when the TV giant withdrew its basic channels during a teenage spat between the two companies.

Virgin reckons it could produce broadband speeds of up to 50 megabits per second. This is twice the fastest speed possible over BT ADSL lines; but then, Virgin tilting trains are supposed to go at 600 miles an hour, or something. I do realise this isn't true (or relevant), trainspotters.

Still, it's nice to see that there's room in the digital playground for both Virgin and Sky.

Sky: 'Virgin speed hikes mask high prices'

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