Virgin Media to meet demand for 100Mbps broadband

Virgin Media has issued sparkling results for the fourth quarter of 2009 and said it will launch a commercial 100Mbps broadband service later this year.

Virgin Media has issued sparkling results for the fourth quarter of 2009 and said it will launch a commercial 100Mbps broadband service later this year.

The company benefitted from higher consumer demand for packages of goods, the so-called three-play and four-play offers that combine cable TV, broadband internet access, fixed and mobile telephones.

This drove up sales, free cashflow and average revenue per user (ARPU) results for the quarter, which recorded figures of £980m, £366m and £44.81 respectively.

Results saw revenues for the year rise to £3.8bn from £3.78bn the previous year, and operating income rise to £142m from last year's loss of £272m, shrinking the net loss for the year to £358m from £920m in 2008.

CEO Neil Berkett said new and existing customers were responding to an increasingly differentiated product portfolio and competitively priced bundles by buying more, higher value products.

"This demand underpinned growth across all our product lines and record ARPU which, combined with stable churn of 1.2%, drove a 6% increase in consumer cable revenue and 55% free cashflow growth," he said.

Berkett said nearly all Virgin Media's 3.8m cable broadband subscribers now had a 10Mbps service, and 45% were on 20Mbps or higher. This supported the pay TV service, delivering exclusive on-demand content and new HD channels.

Berkett described BT and other network operators' investment in optical fibre networks as "embryonic". He said: "Virgin Media's cable network will, for the foreseeable future, provide an unparalleled platform for delivering successive generations of new and innovative services."

He added that Virgin Media would expand its trials of a 200Mbps broadband service and planned the commercial launch of a 100Mbps service later this year. The development of its next-generation TV platform was going well, Berkett said.

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