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Virgin Media said it would start rolling out the 100 megabits per second broadband service to 12.6 million homes. All of its existing 3.8 million cable broadband customers would be able to achieve connections of up to 100 megabits per second by 2011 should they choose to subscribe to the faster service, said a spokesman.
The company said the next-generation service - which is 24 times faster than the average UK broadband connection speed of 4.1 megabits per second - would be ideal for "tech-savvy users" who download lots of music and movies and play games online.
The super-fast, fibre-optic connection will enable web users to download an entire music album in around five seconds, and an hour-long TV show in about 30 seconds, while a high-definition movie could be downloaded in less than eight minutes.
There is nothing we can't do with our fibre optic cable network, and the forthcoming launch of our flagship 100Mb service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience," said Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media.