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Virgin Media doubles and triples broadband speeds

More than 4 million Virgin Media customers will get see their browsing speeds doubled or even tripled over the next two years.

Virgin Media is doubling and even tripling its broadband speeds. More than 4 million customers will get a browsing boost over the next two years.

Customers currently paying for up to 10Mbps will now double up to 20Mbps, while those on 20Mbps will triple and 30Mbps double to 60Mbps. 50Mbps customers will now benefit from 100Mbps, and Virgin's top speed will increase to 120Mbps from 100Mbps.

Upgrades start in February and should be complete by the middle of 2013.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the move as "a great boost for the economy and change the way many households, consumers and businesses use the Internet". The government plans to have superfast broadband in 90 per cent of the country by 2015.

Broadband speeds vary enormously across the country -- check out this eye-opening Ofcom map of broadband speeds, with rural areas particularly poorly served -- but Virgin consistently leads the pack. Unlike most exaggerated claims in ISP adverts, Virgin Media is often faster than advertised.

Even if you do have a decent connection, browsing speed also varies widely during the course of a day, with speeds dropping by a third in the evening, with users of services such as iPlayer and now Netflix eating up bandwidth.

Broadband wonk Ernest Doku from uSwitch.com said the news is "a real breakthrough for the UK's broadband infrastructure, and a decisive step towards the country having a service that can compete with the best in Europe".

"However," Doku warned, "it's worth bearing in mind that Virgin still only has roughly 20 per cent of the UK broadband market, and without similar investment across the board there is a danger that a two-tier broadband market will develop."

Are you a Virgin customer, or will you be switching based on this news? How fast is fast enough? Speed on down to the comments or tell us what you think on our Facebook page.