Virgin Media could soon overtake BT to offer the fastest widely-available broadband service in the UK. That’s after the company announced plans to launch a 350Mbps service, which will be available to both new and existing customers.
Technically this isn’t the first time Virgin Media has offered speeds of up to 350Mbps. In fact, some customers have already been given the option to upgrade their packages to the faster speeds. This further roll-out will ensure it’s available to all.
It’s not known how many customers will be able to take full advantage of the 350Mbps service, although it’s likely to be vastly more than those able to take advantage of Openreach’s G.fast service. BT and other broadband providers using Openreach’s network have been able to offer speeds of up to 330Mbps, but that is estimated to only be available to around 390,000 premises across the UK.
Virgin Media is quickly adding capacity to its network to ensure even more customers can take advantage of the faster speeds. It’s currently midway through a £3bn network expansion dubbed ‘Project Lightning’. The aim of this investment is to reach an addition four million premises served by Virgin Media by the end of 2019. Two million of those premises should boast FTTP.
The promise of 350Mbps broadband is all well and good, but Virgin Media’s existing EuroDOCSIS3 network is technically capable of delivering speeds of up to 500Mbps. The company could also instigate the DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade that has been on the back burner for quite some time, which would increase speeds even further over 1Gbps.
Virgin Media’s 350Mbps service should launch within the next few months to all customers as a replacement for the company’s existing 300Mbps service. It’s unclear whether it will be offered at the same price point.