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Virgin Media Deal to Put Ultrafast Broadband into UK New Build Homes

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 (12:29 pm) - Score 1,118
virgin media new build homes plan

Virgin Media has mirrored BT’s move from earlier this year (here) by signing a new partnership deal with the Home Builder’s Federation (HBF), which should make it easier to ensure that new build homes in England and Wales are prepared for the operator’s 300Mbps coax and fibre optic broadband network.

At present Virgin Media are in the process of a huge £3bn network expansion called ‘Project Lighting‘, which is extending their hybrid-fibre DOCSIS based broadband and TV infrastructure to reach an additional 4 million premises by 2019 (i.e. 60-65% of the United Kingdom). More than 1 million of those will also be catered for via pure fibre optic FTTP lines.

However the Government has also been nudging operators to help play a greater role in the early development process for new builds (it’s always cheaper to put new cables in before the main build starts), especially larger projects that can add hundreds or thousands of new homes. It’s this pressure that partly resulted in BT’s February 2016 agreement with the HBF and now Virgin Media has joined the party.

Under the deal Virgin will provide developers with “all the equipment to connect homes to its network and offer a rebate scheme to cover any costs of the work“. The company will also assess each site free of charge (new site request form) and offer a dedicated manager for each site.

Developers of all sizes are now being urged to register their construction plans on a brand new portal (here), which includes “essential technical guidance” that will help them to prepare for Virgin’s network (view the technical document).

Paul Buttery, COO of Virgin Media, said:

“By partnering with Virgin Media, developers can build 21st Century homes, equipped with the most modern broadband infrastructure delivering the fastest speeds. With our network growing at a faster pace than ever, the more demand we get from developers, the more we can do to support them.”

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said:

“The buyers of new homes understandably have very high expectations of the property they move in to, and house builders strive to meet and surpass those expectations. With connectivity now vital to the way we live our lives, being able to equip today’s modern, high quality housing with 21st Century connectivity is a key consideration for builders.

Housing delivery is growing exponentially as we seek to tackle the country’s housing crisis meaning more and more households will be living in new homes. Competition between network builders will help to ensure more homeowners can enjoy all of the benefits of the digital age, helping to make new build even more attractive to homebuyers.”

ISPreview.co.uk further understands that HBF will be communicating with all of its members to ensure that Virgin Media are included, or at least consulted, during the initial planning phase of any new developments (hence the new portal), which should provide some useful competition for BT’s deal.

However Virgin don’t have the same level of network coverage as BTOpenreach’s national network and they’re also unlikely to face pressure from the proposed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO), thus today’s deal doesn’t attempt to set down any specific coverage pledges and appears to be more focused on education and support for developers.

The HBF represents around 80% of all new homes built each year in England and Wales and so the partnership is certainly of some significance. Lest we not forget that new EU rules, which are also being supported via UK legislation, will soon make high-speed broadband a requirement for new builds (here).

Mind you Virgin Media and BT aren’t the only games in town, with smaller players like GTC / IFNL also able to help with new developments.

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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.
Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar Dave

    Well I’ve bought a new build and although I have a cable to my door I can’t get anything installed because virgin are useless.
    So much for this scheme!!!

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