British cableco Virgin Media has officially launched its 50Mbps broadband service, Reuters reports. The launch of the new service means Virgin will offer the fastest commercial connection speeds in the country. Costs for the service start at GBP46 (USD69.35) per month, including fixed line rental and the broadband connection can also be taken on a standalone basis for GBP51 per month. Virgin’s cable network currently covers approximately 50% of the British population, and the operator expects the 50Mbps service to be available to approximately 40% of the network by the end of 2008. The remaining 60% of the network should have coverage by mid-2009.
The announcement comes as Virgin’s major rival in the British broadband sector, BT, is rolling out 24Mbps services across the country, The incumbent also has revealed plans to build a high speed network offering speeds of up to 100Mbps to over ten million homes, although the network is not due for completion until 2012.