Virgin Media claims new ultrafast broadband 19 times faster than BT and Sky

Virgin Media claims it has boosted its broadband speeds to "the fastest in the UK", twice as fast as any of its rivals' services and 19 times speedier than regular broadband.

Virgin is unveiling the new speed, which depending on customers' packages, is up to 152MB, alongside new parental controls technology and advice.

The company is backing the move with a new TV, outdoor and online campaign that features the return of Olympic gold medal-winner Usain Bolt to its ads, with Sir Richard Branson making his usual appearance. The campaign breaks tomorrow night during ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Takeaway’ on ITV1.

In addition to the "ultrafast" service, Virgin has increased its entry-level broadband from 20MB to 50MB, saying it is "setting a new standard for internet connectivity that is five times faster than regular broadband from Sky or BT".

The TV ad, created by BBH, depicts Usain, 'Mrs Bolt', 'Baby Bolt', 'Boy Bolt' and 'Grandpa Bolt', all played by the athlete, at home enjoying Virgin’s ultrafast broadband, before Virgin founder Branson arrives in a rocket ship to boost their broadband with more power and speed.

Virgin’s broadband is delivered by the firm’s fibre optic network, available in 12.5 million homes. Peak internet use by Virgin Media has grown almost 1,000% since launch in 2007. As a result, the company will boost broadband speeds for existing customers over the next 12 months – 30MB customers will be boosted to 50MB, 60MB customers to 100MB and 120MB customers to 152MB.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s chief executive, said: "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.

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

Culture secretary Maria Miller, who earlier this week used a speech to explain that online consumers must take responsibility for companies’ use of their data, 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."

Virgin Media has also launched Web Safe parental controls, and 'Switched on Families', an interactive guide to help parents and guardians protect their children from pornography, cyber bullying and digital addiction.