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Virgin Media 100Mbps broadband is zooming to London and Yorkshire

200,000 homes in London, the south-east and Yorkshire are set to unwrap an early Christmas pressie from Virgin Media: 100Mbps super-fast broadband.

Virgin Media's long-awaited 100Mbps super-fast broadband service is launching in time for Christmas. 200,000 homes in London, the south-east and West Yorkshire will be able to surf the Web at blinding speeds as they wolf down their turkey and Quality Street.

The 100Mbps service will cost £45 per month, or if you opt for Virgin's phone package you'll pay just £42. The lucky few will benefit from 100Mbps maximum download speed and up to 10Mbps upload speed.

Bear in mind these are maximum speeds, so the reality may be slightly less Tron-like, but it's still looking good for intensive activity like watching video or streaming music from the Web -- Virgin claims a high-definition film will take just 7 minutes to download. After the initial roll-out begins in December, it'll take about 18 months for the souped-up service to extend across the rest of the country.

Virgin leads the way on broadband speeds with the 100Mbps service and a recent free speed boost for existing customers. BT is investing £2.5bn in BT Infinity, a fibre-optic network that will offer 40Mbps to some 4 million homes before the end of the year and will ultimately see some users gaining 100Mbps.

While the download aristocracy prepare to take advantage of turbocharged Web access, many parts of the UK are still stuck with lower-class connections -- or worse, no connection at all. The government's recent spending review committed the BBC to chip in £300m for super-fast broadband in neglected rural areas across the Highlands, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire. Meanwhile, EU money is helping BT bring high-speed surfing to Cornwall.

You can register your interest in Virgin's 100Mbps service at