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October 2, 2010

Virgin Media announces boosted broadband upload speeds

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by Darren Allan

Virgin Media has announced that it is providing a free upgrade for customers on its fibre broadband network.

Upload speeds are set to be boosted considerably, doubling or even tripling in some cases. Those on the M and L broadband packages (10Mbps download) will have their upload speeds doubled from 512Kbps to 1Mbps (well, “up to 1Mbps”, of course).

Those on the XL package will see their uploads boosted from 768Kbps to 2Mbps, and more than tripled speeds will be coming to XXL customers, with uploads increasing from 1.5Mbps to a whopping 5Mbps.

Virgin reckons that with this 5Mbps upload rate, XXL users will be able to upload a 50MB HD video clip in under a minute and a half under typical conditions. The increased uploads will obviously be useful for sharing photos and videos online, and of course for online gaming.

These upgrades have begun rolling out now, and will be automatically applied to all customers on Virgin’s broadband packages before long. There’ll be no need to sign a new contract or take any action at all to receive the benefits.

However, along with these boosts Virgin has also announced a new system of traffic management at peak times. This is designed to ensure that time sensitive uses, such as video streaming, are given priority over non-time sensitive traffic such as newsgroup or peer-to-peer activity.

A so-called system of smart network monitoring will apparently reserve some 75% of network resources for time sensitive traffic. Virgin is also increasing its peak time allowances for data transfer.

The company states: “On a daily basis this traffic management system improves the performance that over 95 per cent of customers receive, whilst helping to minimise the negative effect the five percent of heaviest users have by temporarily slowing down their speeds, ensuring a fair share of network resources during the busiest times.”

Virgin points out that an “extremely heavy user” on the XXL service will see this temporary slowdown decrease their upload speed from 5Mbps to 1.75Mbps, but that this will still leave them running faster than the current maximum upload speed of 1.5Mbps.

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