Virgin Media broadband has announced a rise in its broadband prices by just under seven per cent. From February 2014 onwards homes paying for Virgin’s internet service will see an increase in costs averaging 6.7 per cent.
The company claims that the new prices are necessary to keep the company competitive, and that the company will be rolling out new fibre-optic connections with speeds of up to 152Mbps to 12.5 million homes.
This new high-speed service will allow customers to download a HD quality film in approximately four minutes and a whole album in four seconds. The company currently offers speeds at up to 30Mbps, 60Mbps and 120Mbps.
A press release accompanying the news noted that internet traffic among Virgin’s customers has grown by 55 per cent in the past year and 1000 per cent since the company’s services were launched in 2007.
The company also claims that is new 152Mbps will be twice as fast as the highest speed connection offered by rival BT’s Infinity service.
BT responded by saying that its network was accessible to 4.5 million more households than Virgin Media’s, and that the latter’s claims could be seen as misleading as they did not mention "traffic management policies" (aka the throttling of download speeds).
However, research from Ofcom this August noted that whilst all broadband providers suffer from some sort slower connections during peak hours (8pm-10pm), those services provided by Virgin Media suffered the least in relation to advertised speeds than BT's.
BT previously announced a price rise to their own service to be enforced from January 2014, though following a new ruling from Ofcom that comes into force next year customers will be able to cancel their contract without financial penalty if prices are increased mid-contract.
Recent figures from Ofcom showed that the UK is still failing to meet the government’s targets for super-fast broadband access, with not a single city in the country currently meeting the minimum average download speed of 24Mbps.