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Virgin Media yesterday announced initial plans for its major broadband upgrade programme. This includes providing its 4Mbps customers with a free upgrade to 10Mbps, which means they can download a typical music track in just four seconds.

The upgrade will be rolled out by region and will give customers up to double the speed of their current package. A 50Mbps package will also be available to Virgin customers by the end of 2008.

Michael Phillips, product director at says, “It’s great that Virgin is developing its network in this way and actually upgrading customers without them having to shell out more money for the privilege.

That said, we still need greater transparency from all providers on the kind of speeds their customers can actually expect to get, rather than using flashy advertising to highlight ever-increasing ‘top speeds’ that are rarely delivered.”

Research carried out through and the home computer magazine Computer Active, as part of its ‘Crystal Clear Campaign’ found that 62 per cent of all broadband users are achieving less than 50 per cent of their advertised speed.(1) The campaign aimed to challenge the communications regulator Ofcom and the broadband industry to improve clarity in broadband contracts for UK Internet users.

Virgin Media’s 10Mbps upgrade aims to highlight the benefits cable broadband has in being able to deliver faster and more reliable services to customers. However, the jury is still out as to whether it will actually be able to deliver.

Notes to editor:

1. Stats from a national survey of Computeractive readers’ and their broadband connections, which involved more than 180,000 separate speed tests, revealing that 62 per cent were consistently receiving less than 50 per cent of the advertised speed they signed up to.

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