Virgin Media has increased its broadband speeds to 152Mbps, double BT and Sky’s top consumer broadband speeds of 76Mbps.

Virgin’s existing top tier broadband customers on 120Mbps will be upgraded to the faster network speeds free of charge from today. From the end of March, Virgin will upgrade customers on 30Mbps to 50Mbps and customers on 60Mbps to 100Mbps.

Virgin said it will email its customers and ask if they want to be registered for the faster speeds.

The speed increases were first announced by Virgin last November alongside a 6.7 percent price hike.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s chief executive, said the new speeds would help its customers in the UK make the most of the web.

“Overwhelmingly people tell us the internet is a force for good. From daily life to the bigger aspects of society, culture and economic growth, digital is making a significant, positive difference to people’s lives,” he said.

“We’re supercharging our incredible network to ensure that Virgin Media customers can make the most of the online world.”

The announcement comes as nearly 90 percent of adults in the UK now have access to the internet, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics.

The government classes speeds above 24Mbps as “superfast” and is aiming to ensure that 95 percent of UK homes are capable of accessing these speeds by 2017.

Culture secretary Maria Miller, whose department is leading the rollout of broadband to the UK's rural areas, said: “Faster, safer home internet from Virgin Media is great news for families across the UK. Families are now downloading films, streaming music and playing games through phones, laptops, tablets and consoles. Higher speeds will enable the whole family to use the internet at the same time.”

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