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Monday 15 December 2008

Fibre to the revenue stream

Read more! Today Virgin Media revealed some detail about its new 50 Mbps service. For me the headline number is not the speed of the service, which is welcome in that it will begin to change the mindset on the ground, but the price. £51 per month (plus installation fees, plus activation fees. OK. i know they will be using the time honoured pricing model of going in at a premium price and going for the price insensitive early adopters, but all the same, this is very very expensive given that what they have done effectively is a software upgrade on their systems.

This announcement is great news for the growing community fibre sector. It sends a clear message, supported by recent utterings from BT, that because next-gen speeds are so much higher than the pathetic performance most of us currently pay through the nose for, it is perfectly reasonable to pay much much more for it. NOT TRUE. Community owned fibre can and will be delivered to end users in the UK, complete with a triple play package, for 20 - 30 quid a month. No need for a phone line rental either, so a pretty darn competitive offer.

The commercial offerings will no doubt drop in price over time as the market matures, but why should consumers have to suffer such swingeing charges at all? Simply because Virgin, and undoubtedly BT - when they finally get round to deploying their second rate solution - need to protect their current pricing structures and feed the insatiable greed of their City investors for profits. Note that Virgin Media at the same time have announced over 2000 jobs to go, while continuing to promote their "we're on your side" brand positioning. Sickening.
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