Virgin Media to roll out 100Mbps fiber broadband to 12.6M UK homes

Virgin Media announced today that it would begin rolling out 100 megabit per second fiber broadband to 12.6 million homes in the United Kingdom. The news follows the UK government’s pledge to bring universal broadband to everyone in Britain by 2012, as well as plans from ISPs in the U.S. and elsewhere to push next-generation broadband speeds.

The 100Mbps connection would be 24 times faster than the average broadband connection in the UK, which sits around 4.1Mbps. Virgin’s current 3.8 million fiber broadband customers — who currently have access to speeds between 10Mbps and 50Mbps — will also be able to upgrade to the faster 100Mbps connection by 2011.

Fiber is gaining a reputation as the future of broadband access to the home. Verizon’s FiOS fiber service clocked 2.9 million subscribers in the U.S. as of January 2010, and Google recently announced its own plans to build a 1 gigabit per second fiber network in the U.S. that would serve between 50,000 and 500,000 homes. Virgin’s network is 10 times slower, but far more ambitious in terms of users. Virgin competitor British Telecom also recently unveiled its own fiber broadband service, BT Infinity, that offers speeds of up to 40Mbps.

Virgin is testing an even faster 200Mbps fiber service, which it plans to roll out officially sometime in 2012.


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