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Virgin Media launches 152Mb broadband, 50Mb entry-level

Virgin Media has launched the fastest widely available broadband, and given all its customers a free bump in speed too.

Virgin Media has launched the fastest widely available broadband in the country, rolling out a 152Mb service. That should let you download an entire TV show in about a minute. The ISP's fastest speed was previously 120Mb. In contrast, BT and Sky's top packages are 76Mb.

Existing customers will get a speed boost too, so there's plenty to be pleased about even if you don't want to shell out for the 152Mb package.

The entry-level package jumps from 30Mb to 50Mb. 60Mb customers will get 100Mb, while those on 120Mb graduate to 152Mb. These are all 'up to' speeds, so don't expect peak performance at all times.

You won't have to pay any extra for the new speeds. Existing customers will get an email to tell them when their area is ready, and then they have to opt in to the new package. New customers pay the same as existing ones -- so that's £15.50 a month for 50Mb (that was the 30Mb service), £20.50 for 100Mb, and £28.50 for 152Mb. These don't include the £15.99 a month line rental, but you can choose standalone broadband without line rental.

The new speeds will be available through Virgin Media's fibre-optic cables, which reach 12.5 million UK homes.

The ISP is also falling into line with the government's policy on porn filters by launching its Web Safe filter today. Web Safe lets the account holder restrict which kind of Web pages and age-restricted material can be accessed. It works across all devices using the same Internet connection, be they mobiles, laptops, tablets, desktops, or any other device that can get online.

Web Safe will be offered to all new customers, or existing customers can request it. Virgin Media promises to offer it to all of its customers by the end of the year.

If you're not sure what the potential pitfalls of letting youngsters browse unsupervised are, have a look at Virgin Media's new Switched On Families guide. It deals with issues like cyber bullying, inappropriate content, and digital addiction.

How fast is your broadband? What is the minimum speed all UK households should have? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.