Virgin Media introduces 150 Mbps broadband speeds

Virgin Media

Virgin Media launched new broadband connectivity running at speeds up to 152 Mbps, billing the new option as the fastest connection speed available in the UK right now.

Virgin has also upped the entry-level speed to 50 Mbps, 10 times faster than regular broadband from BT and Sky. It claims its new top-level connection is 19 times faster than the competition.

Other speed plans across the board will also receive a boost, the company confirmed. 30 Mbps customers will be boosted to 50 Mbps, 60 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and 120 Mbps to 152 Mbps.

The company hopes its new connections will better handle increased internet traffic. It claims peak internet use by Virgin Media customers has grown by 55 per cent in the past year and by a jaw-dropping 1,000 per cent since 2007.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller greeted the news positively.

"Faster, safer home internet from Virgin Media is great news for families across the UK," she said. "Higher speeds will enable the whole family to use the internet at the same time."

The service changes also include Web Safe parental controls to assist parents in censoring content. The filters work at the network level, affecting all devices connected to the internet.

Virgin is rolling out the service to customers throughout 2014 and will offer it to all new customers. Existing customers can sign up at any time.

Web Safe comes with Switched on Families, an interactive guide to help parents make informed choices about online content and potential dangers.

"Parenting in a digital age is a constantly evolving challenge," said Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of The Parent Zone. "The advice on this site will help empower parents to figure out what works for their family and how to best support their kids as they grow up."

The announcement follows the release of a leaked letter from David Cameron to the four major internet service providers asking them to commit to "default-on" web filters.

Web provider BT responded last December by implementing the filters by default for new customers. It will present the service to existing customers as well during 2014.

Some UK ISPs have faced criticism for their implementation of the filters. BT offers "sex education" and "gay and lesbian lifestyle" as blockable content, earning the ire of gay rights groups.

Virgin Media has developed broadband, TV, mobile and home phone services since its founding in 2007. Its fiber-optic cable network delivers broadband connections to more than half of all UK households and 131 London Underground stations.