BT slams Virgin 100Mbps broadband pricing

BT criticises Virgin's "premium" pricing for the 100Mbps announced this week.


BT has questioned why Virgin Media's 100Mbps upcoming broadband service has been priced so highly, given the current economic climate.

BT said all superfast broadband is positive for the UK, but the communications giant was bemused as to why Virgin is planning to charge such "premium" prices.

Virgin Media's 100Mbps broadband service will cost 45 per month as a stand-alone service or 35 when bundled with a phone line.

"Take up is as important as availability and so we would question why Virgin are charging such a premium," a BT statement sent to IT PRO said.

"Their new service is more than twice the price of BT's fibre product and so we are surprised by the high price when most family budgets are tight."

While BT's prices may be lower, it currently only offers 40Mbps speeds and will not achieve 100Mbps or faster until next year.

Furthermore, Virgin offers a 50Mbps service from 28 a month, although the BT Infinity 40Mbps package can be bought for as low as 19.99.

BT, which agreed with Ofcom earlier this year to share its fibre networks with rivals, also noted Virgin's network is not "open to other companies in the way BT's is."

The company said it was happy to have the extra competition in the market, however.

"BT is already rolling out fibre broadband to approximately 17 million homes and businesses and it is good for UK plc that there will be another high speed network," it added.

Further to yesterday's announcement, Virgin said around 12.7 million homes will get the new 100Mbps service when roll out is complete, which is expected to be in 2012.

Phil Smith, chief executive (CEO) of Cisco UK & Ireland, was more positive about the introduction of Virgin's services.

He said the announcement "is a clear sign that we are moving in the right direction by investing in the high quality, superfast networks that will be needed for us to join the 14 countries whose networks are already prepared for the applications of the future."

"It's important that the focus is on improving the UK's network overall and this is a great step forward but much more investment is needed to make the UK more competitive and connected," Smith added.

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