Virgin Media has announced that UK trials of 50MB broadband
services in Ashford, Folkestone and Dover have been successful, and that the company will now begin to offer it to a wider customer base by the end of 2008.
Additionally the company will upgrade existing customers on its 'L' package for free, more than doubling their basic broadband line speed.
"We're moving everybody from the 4MB service to the 10MB service from February onwards, and this will help us to achieve better results that competing ADSL options," a spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz
ADSL lines currently have a general limit of 8MB and that base speed can degrade based on a customer's distance from the local exchange, while the technology used by Virgin Media could potentially yield speeds of up to 150MB – although the company has no plans to trial those kinds of speeds at this point.
The increasing speeds of broadband connections has led to a boom in online gaming services, enabling the growth of huge subscriber bases for games
such as World of Warcraft
and other MMOs.
Virgin Media's new 50MB service is also aimed at enabling a more widespread use of IPTV, and the existing trial demonstrated the potential for offering high definition television
programmes across an internet connection, rather than via cable or satellite
Internet service providers have come under attack from some users claiming that speeds advertised are not always delivered, but Virgin Media denies claims that its users are affected by these problems.
"We do have a traffic management system set up, but it only runs for five hours per day, and only affects around 3 per cent of our users.
"We don't restrict speeds for anybody based on specific activities, such as peer-to-peer network usage, and there are no speed caps."
The spokesperson also pointed out that some web sites that purport to measure the speed of a user's internet connection often aren't able to reflect the true performance of the line, and can often lead to confusion on the part of consumers.