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Virgin Media Tops 4.69 Million Broadband Users and Extends 300Mbps

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016 (8:31 am) - Score 2,078
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

Cable Internet and TV provider Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has published their results for Q4 2015 and revealed that they added +69,100 broadband users in the quarter to make for a total of 4,694,900 (up from the +55,500 added in Q3 2015). The new 300Mbps service will also be extended to “Home Workers“.

On top of that Virgin Media reports that the progress of their Project Lighting network expansion, which aims to cover 17 million premises in urban areas by 2020 (60-65% UK coverage), has been good and they’ve so far put an additional 250,000 premises within reach of their network. Virgin also expects to add another 500,000 in 2016 (the completed expansion will add an extra 4 million premises).

As a result of the above Virgin’s Two-Way Homes Passed figure (i.e. homes on those sections of Virgin’s cable network that are technologically capable of providing two-way services, including video and Internet) has reached 12,891,300.

Another interesting piece of news in today’s report is that the recently launched ultrafast 300Mbps broadband service for SME businesses (here) will be extended and made available to “home office workers” in March 2016, which will mark Virgin Media’s first ever targeted proposition for this customer group and is one step away from making it a residential package (sadly that might not happen until much later this year).

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO, said:

“These results demonstrate a strong financial performance from Virgin Media. We’ve grown revenue and operating cash flow and improved cost control, since becoming part of Liberty Global. More people than ever are choosing to switch to the UK’s fastest broadband speeds from Virgin Media, whether they are at home, at work or on the go.”

At this point we should add that some 45% of Virgin Media’s cable broadband subscribers now take their 100Mbps or faster packages, which is up from 43% in the previous quarter and 31% at the end of 2014. Last year’s “VIVID” speed boosts had a big hand in that and took the top domestic package to a maximum download speed of 200Mbps.

Elsewhere it’s worth noting that Liberty Global has today announced an asset merger deal with Vodafone in the Netherlands. Granted this does not have an impact upon the United Kingdom, but such a deal had been proposed for the UK before and we can’t help but wonder if Vodafone will use the Dutch approach as a test case for something similar in the UK at a later date.

Meanwhile, on the financial front, Virgin Media delivered total quarterly UK revenue of £1,122.6m and their monthly Average Revenue Per Customer Relationship (ARPU) was £49.74, which is down slightly from Q3 2015’s £49.77. The operator is also home to 3,016,400 mobile subscribers (EE network), which is down from 3,027,300 in Q3.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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18 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner

    Interesting that Virgin seems to be dropping market share despite the speed boosts. Is this still due to congestion issues or are most people simply not interested in the highest broadband speeds, preferring to take advantage of more competitive pricing on FTTC?

    • I suspect it’s more to do with the usual take-up time lag problems, such as people being stuck in longer contractors with other ISPs or simply being unaware that Virgin has now extended into their area. Much like the BT / BDUK FTTC deployment, you have to give it 1-2 years for take-up to show a good climb.

      Most of that 250k were only added in the past few months, so it may be better to examine this in another year than at this still early stage. However I doubt Virgin will give us take-up data in the new areas to compare with BDUK.

      It’s also worth noting that past results had a boost from DSL customers, which have since been sold.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      My brother recently moved to fttc from virgin he’s been with Virgin for years and really happy but it drops to around 8Mbps on a night

    • I think the man is referring to their proportion of the UK market as a whole rather than their penetration in passed areas, Mark.

      Suspect it is about FTTC being good enough for many, too. Cost is a bigger factor to most than speed, and more triple play options would inevitably take their toll on VM.

    • Avatar Lee

      I would say BT infinity has capitalised on the consecutive failures of other ISP’s to supply a basic router that gives a realible wifi signal. The old TalkTalk and sky routers were terrible. People thus think that “wifi internet” is bad and opt for BT infinity because it’s “superfast fibre broadband”.

      Had TalkTalk provided decent wifi routers from the get go then most people would have been more than happy on a bog standard ADSL connection. The vast majority of people who have upgraded to “superfast fibre broadband” are actually still on copper wire connections with VDSL however the BT Hubs give an amazing Wifi signal so it would still feel a lot faster even if they were on ADSL.

      Of course the next phase of BT’s and Virgins cashcow will be “Ultrafast Broadband”, i.e. Fibre to the premises. Why do you think they are targeting rural areas with FTTP? Reason being is these areas really do suffer from slow ADSL connections so to them this would be too much of a temptation to resist.

      Of course you can’t turn back time and even though TalkTalk has already corrected it’s router problems Fibre broadband is already imbedded into the public consciousness. It’s all been really clever marketing. As much as I hate to admit it I actually admire BT for playing a major role in accelerating the evolution of internet access in the UK.

      It’s a win win situation, unless of course you are the person paying the bills.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Ignition
      Correct, I was indeed referring to the decline in overall market share. Other providers seems to be growing faster, with the notable exception of TalkTalk, possibly due to its continuing cyber security issues. Virgin isn’t keeping up, and doesn’t appear to be benefitting much from project “Lightening” expansion either, although in terms of build speed it seems anything but lightening in nature judging by local area.

    • The project is still ramping up. I also refer to my comments on other threads about what a total backside-ache it is to build anything in the UK.

      The project is struggling to keep to schedule and running over planned budget per premises passed.

  2. Avatar JamesM

    Got to admit 200 is working better in my area now than it was – and this is a 300 area. Even now on half term lowest it’s gone lastnight so far was 170mbps.

    • Avatar JamesM

      So they clealry have done the work and assuming business runs on the same network they may well be able to do the 300 if they boost the upload as I have a business FTTC line and could do with a business backup when this runs out in a few months

  3. Avatar P Reilly

    For me personally its more to do with the upload threshold \ cap whatever you want to call it losing 75% of your upload after using it for a few hours is dreadful – most of my friends stream on various platforms and the upload is not usable so the decide to use FTTC just to get a constant uncapped upload speed. 200 \ 12 up reduced to x \ 3.x up after a few hours is worst than most adsl lines.

    • Avatar peter

      “For me personally its more to do with the upload threshold \ cap whatever you want to call it….”

      There is not one AFAIK on any of the business products which is what this item is about.

      “after a few hours is worst than most adsl lines….”

      Porky pies

    • Avatar Kev

      Disagree – I’ve a couple of colleagues who are on Sky and BT’s fibre products and they both reckon they get full upload without issue.

      Speaking from my own experience, I don’t have FTTC/P and my ADSL2+ upload is never played about it by the ISP

  4. Avatar P Reilly

    Peter

    “after a few hours is worst than most adsl2+ lines….” purely based on upload speed this is FACT not lies. For HD+ upload speeds are about 4.5Mb/s most ADSL2+ lines do on average 6-8Mb/s and have no limits\thresholds where as if you look at Virgin Medias threshold policy they say they reduce their highest tiered package from 12Mb/s upload to about 4.2Mb/s but in reality its 3.9Mb/s. I corrected my statement from ADSL to ADSL2+ basically when I say ADSL I was talking about FTTC products.

    Also the reason I brought this up is because Virgin Media has the same policy outside of 9-5 working hours for Business Lines, not every one works from standard 9-5!!

    • Avatar peter

      “… purely based on upload speed this is FACT not lies. For HD+ upload speeds are about 4.5Mb/s most ADSL2+ lines do on average 6-8Mb/s”

      Dunno what you are smoking but speeds on ADSL2+ are typically 17Mb Download and 1Mb Upload, ive no idea what fantasy world you are living in where you get 6-8Mb upload on ADSL2+

  5. Avatar P Reilly

    Here is the link to Home User thresholds.

    https://my.virginmedia.com/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy-thresholds.html

    Here is the link to the Business Lines –

    http://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/Products-and-solutions/Broadband-and-Internet-Services/business-broadband/

    Here is the important part: NO traffic throttling on downloads during working hours

    • Avatar peter

      And as i stated there is no traffic management AFAIK on Virgins Business products. You first link is for residential service and the second link mentions nothing about upload restrictions on the business product.

      Please point to a traffic management page for the business product to prove your incorrect statements.

  6. Avatar P Reilly

    The first link for residential is because the same rules apply to Virgin media Business Products outside of Business Hours I suggest you stop being rude pick up a phone and call a Virgin Media Business Manager to get your facts right or better still call or email my Business Manager John.Turnbull@virginmedia.co.uk who will be happy to verify these facts. Also I work closely for a streaming platform that deals with thousands of Broadcasters connections and again my FACTS are correct – so instead of insulting people and being a troll – educated yourself.

    • Avatar peter

      “…The first link for residential is because the same rules apply to Virgin media Business Products outside of Business Hours…”

      LOL Ill repeat “Please point to a traffic management page for the business product to prove your incorrect statements.” You can not because there are no restrictions, or taffic management for the business product. Go ahead and show the page if there is rather than fantasy nonsense.

      The home product you point to for traffic management, which you think is the same for their business range does not even mention a 300Mbps product. Business products even have different names and are not called “superfibrexxxx” or “VIVIDxxxx”

      You clearly have no idea but just a agenda.

      As for “Also I work closely for a streaming platform that deals with thousands of Broadcasters connections and again my FACTS are correct”

      Then if we are talking FACT you should be using a dedicated connection to provide them and not some regular broadband product. I hope those you supply to are reading and know that you are serving “THOUSANDS” of them with a product which at best is only 300Mbps and at worse 17Mb or 78Mb via FTTC. Then again you probably supply them with ADSL as you think that is better. God only knows how “THOUSANDS” of them manage to broadcast anything.

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