Virgin Media's 100Mb broadband goes live

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VIRGIN Media's 100Mb broadband went live this week.

Potential customers should form an orderly queue clutching their postcodes.

At present the service Virgin Media insist on calling 'ultrafast' is only available in a few locations:

Note that, at the time of writing, you won't currently find these deals in our postcode search here's why.

"The launch of our 100Mb service is a significant milestone in the UK's broadband evolution and a vivid illustration of the power of our next generation network," said Neil Berkett, the ISP's chief executive officer.

"In the space of just ten years, Virgin Media has led the greatest developments in digital Britain."

The small nature of the initial launch area suggests that the product will be carefully watched to ensure that there are no teething issues before roll-out to wider swathes of the nation.

All other areas not activated at present will have to wait until at least next year to receive the new 100Mb broadband service.

However, Virgin Media's own roll-out schedule indicates that the next swathe of towns won't be activated until March 2011.

Those looking for the UK's fastest broadband will just have to twiddle those thumbs at superfast speeds until then.

Of course, you can always keep an eye on this page for when 100Mb becomes more widely available.

Superfast? Pah!

The launch of Virgin Media 100Mb service is well timed.

Earlier in the week, Jeremy Hunt, the coalition's Culture Secretary, announced plans to bequeath Europe's best broadband network to the UK by 2015.

"Our broadband infrastructure is towards the middle rather than at the head of the pack," said Hunt, in a speech to think tank Reform.

"Only 15% of UK subscribers currently have speeds above 5Mb, compared with 65% in South Korea. And only 0.2% of UK households had a superfast broadband connection at the end of last year - compared to 12% in Sweden and 34% in Japan... These are all big challenges."

Mr Hunt must be happy that 'ultrafast' is taking over, or at least starting up.

It will certainly help towards meeting the Coalition's aim and they didn't have to do anything or, crucially, spend a penny of their £830 million kitty.

The planned infrastructure of the BT fibre network is far more likely to bid for some of that cash.

Pricing 100Mb

According to a Virgin Media, "A typical family will be able to get the new ultrafast service for as little as £35 a month when bought in a bundle, or just £45 per month when bought as a sole product."

We're not sure whether £35 or £45 a month can be described as 'just' or 'as little as'.

The UK's cheapest broadband is currently about £15 including the landline or £180 a year; with a landline Virgin's 100Mb service is £46.99 a month or £563.88 a year.

Nevertheless these products represent good value for money within the context of the current superfast, ultrafast, slimfast, whatever, broadband market.

In addition, the new service is unrestricted both in terms of traffic shaping and because it lacks restrictions on downloads which, coupled with those speeds, will make it one of the best deals for heavy use. See our guide for more on traffic shaping.

Virgin Media have even chucked in up to 10Mb upload speeds, the UK's fastest upload.

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