Virgin Media touts 16Mb/sec for ADSL customers

Virgin Media has launched a new 16Mb/sec connection for its ADSL customers.

The new service doubles Virgin Media’s ADSL broadband service from 8Mb/sec to 16Mb/sec, going some way to bridge the gulf between its telephone and cable offering.

Customers will be able to add the boost to their package for free for three months, after which they will need to pay an additional £5 per month on top of their normal package. Virgin says the fee can be paid on a monthly basis, with no fixed-term contract required.

“We just want people to try it and give it a go,” says a Virgin Media spokesperson. “If the faster service is for them, they can pay to keep it going, but at least we know they’ve seen it.”

Due to the lack of a contract Virgin says it envisages the service being used as a “pick-me-up” for families looking for a speed boost for a couple of months over Christmas, or other holidays.

However, analysts suggest the three months free offer is an attempt to avoid any more of the “up to” speed claims that have dogged broadband services in the past.

“It is clear that Virgin Media wants to take no chances raising the ire of its customers with a service that promises too much but delivers too little,” says Neil Hawkins, broadband analyst at ChooseISP.co.uk.

“With Eclipse and TalkTalk having recently introduced speeds of up to 24Mb/sec, and UKOnline, Sky, Be and O2 already offering ADSL speeds between 16Mb/sec and 24Mb/sec, Virgin Media is all too aware of how fragile customer retention actually is.”

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