Virgin Media is already thinking about 400Mbps services, with the arrival of a new modem by the end of the year paving the way for a whole new level of superfast broadband.

With 100Mbps arriving in the UK by the end of 2010, and 200Mbps trials continuing, Virgin Media's executive director of broadband Jon James admitted thoughts were already turning to the next step.

"The DOCSIS 3 network really gives us a dial we can turn to give more speed to customers if we think that is the right thing to do both for those customers and commercially," said James.

"We have done 50Mbps and a series of upgrades and we will continue to give Virgin Media customers free upgrades on an equipment basis because we are the speed leader and we think it's going to continue as a way we do broadband.

Faster, faster

"We are also doing 100Mbps – launching in Q4 this year – we are trialing 200Mbps but that's a very commercial trial in the sense of working out in the real life what you can do with 200 Mbps," he added.

"We know very well we can do 200Mbps and we could do 400 Mbps. We are launching a new modem by the end of the year that will be 400 Mbps capable.

"And that's a vehicle for the evolution of our speed portfolio in the next two years."

James will not put a date to either 400Mb or 200Mbps at the current time, but the capability of fibre optic networks for truly superfast broadband is clear.

The 50Mbps flagship service is apparently 'smack on plan' with the last subscription figures released showing that there are 70,000 people using it.

Upstream increases

One of the criticisms of Virgin's current top line service is the relatively small upstream capability, but the company is looking to change this.

"We're also using our upstream ratio in Q3 but we're not releasing the details now," he added.