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Virgin Media Bring Ultrafast Broadband to 450K Extra London UK Premises

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 (9:37 am) - Score 1,384

Around 450,000 extra premises in London will be covered by Virgin Media’s (Liberty Global) 300Mbps capable ultra-fast broadband and TV services by 2018 (EuroDOCSIS / FTTP), which forms part of their on-going £3bn network expansion and should help to create 500 extra jobs in the city.

Project Lightning aims to extend Virgin Media’s EuroDOCSIS based Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) broadband network to reach an additional 4 million premises by 2019 (i.e. 60-65% of the United Kingdom). More than 1 million of those premises will be catered for via pure fibre optic (Fibre-to-the-Premise) lines, which use Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) technology in order to stay compatible with the existing DOCSIS standard.

At present the city is already quite well covered by Virgin Media’s predominantly urban focused network, which can reach around two thirds of homes and businesses in the area. But that still leaves plenty of room for expansion, particularly close to the edges of their existing network where it’s easiest to deploy.

The latest expansion includes 100,000 premises that have already been connected in East London since 2014 (here), with another 100,000 premises set to follow by early 2017 and the last batch of 250,000 should then be completed by the end of 2018.

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said:

“London is one of the greatest capital cities in the world, so it deserves connectivity that meets its standing on the global stage. This expansion will give Londoners the broadband boost they deserve. We urge local councils and landlords to work with us to ensure this expansion happens as quickly as possible.

From Lothian to London, Virgin Media and its parent company Liberty Global are committed to delivering the best broadband infrastructure for the UK. Our £3 billion Project Lightning network expansion is gaining momentum and by 2019, 17 million homes and businesses in the UK will have access to our ultrafast network.”

Apparently the expansion will include 6,000 premises in Westminster and a big investment in Barnet, which will see fibre optic cables being connected directly to 40,000 homes and businesses (FTTP). Other areas where Virgin Media will build include Greenford, Southall, Hammersmith & Fulham, Twickenham, St John’s Wood, Bexley and Croydon.

Elsewhere Virgin Media has also installed public WiFi hotspots in Islington and Croydon as part of a new service trial, with the access points being installed on top of Virgin Media’s existing street cabinets (we first reported on this last year (here)).

The move also represents a threat to BT, with Virgin Media increasingly encroaching upon areas that had previously been dominated by the national telco’s network. However that spells good news for infrastructure level competition and provides consumers with a greater choice.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    While this is good news, I’m still puzzled as to why the low-hanging fruit of business parks around the country just at the edges of, but not served by, the cable network, were not targets for expansion many years ago.

    The country is riddled with business parks and premises whose only option has been BT, paying ludicrous prices or bespoke connections in order to get not terribly much at all. Virgin ought to be able to “clean up” in many instances and grab a large share of the customers.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      A combination of various reasons, such as concerns over Ofcom regulation and a lack of will / ability to invest, which changed after Liberty Global took over.

    2. Avatar wireless pacman says:

      There is also probably not that much revenue to be had (unless they too charge silly prices) to pay for all of the trenching etc – the spacing between customers can be quite large on a business Park when compared to a housing estate.

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