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Virgin Media is urging existing customers on its 20Mbit/s broadband service to splurge a one-off payment of £30 to upgrade to its 30Mbit/s offering, which launched today.

The company will no longer offer would-be punters the 20Mbit/s package, but existing customers do not have to upgrade to the new service as Virgin Media will keep both bases running.

It claimed the firm's 'XL' broadband offering had been "boosted by 50 per cent" in additional bandwidth without coming at an extra cost.

Existing customers might be attracted to hitting the upgrade button, if they agree with Virgin Media's blurb that the 50 per cent bandwidth increase would be good for households running several internet-connected devices at once.

The service will set customers back £18.50 per month when bundled with a Virgin Media home phone, said the network provider.

Existing customers who decide to upgrade from the 20Mbit/s service to the new 30Mbit/s offering, assuming they have access to its fibre optics network, will be charged £30, to cover activation and exchange of their old modem and router for Virgin Media's DOCSIS 3.0-loaded kit.

From today, the company is dishing up 10Mbit/s, 30Mbit/s, 50Mbit/s and 100Mbit/s broadband services, with 20Mbit/s effectively shelved by Virgin Media.

The firm has been slowly rolling out maximum downstream broadband speed available via its network to 100Mbit/s, and maximum upload speed to 10Mbit/s. The whole process is expected to be completed by Virgin Media in mid-2012. ®

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