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Virgin Media boosts bottom tier broadband

'M' subscribers go to up to 10Mbit/s

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Virgin Media will begin upgrading its "up to" 2Mbit/s broadband subscribers to "up to" 10Mbit/s from May, it said today.

The firm stopped selling the up to 2Mbit/s "M" package to new customers early in February, and an upgrade for the lowest broadband tier has long been expected as part of network capacity improvements.

Virgin Media now offers services at up to 10Mbit/s, up to 20Mbit/s and up to 50Mbit/s.

It claimed today that the "L" 10Mbit/s service typically offers real world speeds of about twice those provided by ADSL-based "up to" 8Mbit/s lines. Independent testing by the broadband monitoring firm Epitiro at the end of 2008 showed an average throughput of 6.9Mbit/s versus 3.4Mbit/s for BT's standard "up to" 8Mbit/s service.

The "L" broadband package is available to new customers for £20 per month, following a six month £15 per month introductory period. Taken with an £11 per month home phone, it's £14 per month, after six months at £5 per month.

Virgin Media reckons "competitive" ADSL2+ providers, able to offer similar speeds, typically charge £30 per month for similar service. They don't; Sky and O2 are both cheaper (though Sky requires that you are a TV subscriber). The usual ADSL caveats about distances from local exchanges apply however.

Meanwhile, unlike those two rivals, Virgin Media's upgraded service remains subject to bandwidth throttling. New limits are currently being trialled in the North West. ®

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