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Virgin Media Cover 118K More Premises as Broadband Users Top 5.16m

Thursday, August 9th, 2018 (7:24 am) - Score 4,129
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

The latest quarterly update (calendar Q2 2018) from cable ISP Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has revealed that the operator’s UK network has now reached another 118,000 premises (up from 111K added in Q1), while their broadband subscriber base totals 5,166,500 (up by 30K in Q2, which is flat from 31.2K in Q1).

The last quarter has been fairly eventful for Virgin Media, which had to stomach a £385,000 fine in Cumbria for unsafe street works (here) and meanwhile Ofcom also found “reasonable grounds for believing” that they might have broken consumer protection rules by failing to play fair with their Early Termination Charges (here). Lest we for forget all the headlines around UKTV and ITV channels (here and here).

On top of that they’ve also sued Durham Council over the costs of expanding their fibre optic network in the county (here) and have finally launched a customer trial of their DS-Lite based IPv6 internet addressing standard (here). Finally, they’ve given customers access to a new engineer tracking tool (here) and have continued to expand their network coverage.

Speaking of network expansion, the operator’s £3bn Project Lightning deployment is still working to reach an additional 4 million premises (2 million of these will be via FTTP) and they’ve just delivered another 118,000 premises passed (Q2 2018). We’ve done a quick summary of recent progress below (note: this only goes back to the start of 2017 and not the very beginning of the project).

Quarterly (Calendar) Project Lightning Rollout
Q2 2018 = 118,000 Premises
Q1 2018 = 111,000 Premises (likely impacted by heavy snow)
Q4 2017 = 159,000 Premises
Q3 2017 = 147,000 Premises
Q2 2017 = 127,000 Premises
Q1 2017 = 102,000 Premises

Assuming VM can complete the rollout on time then their network should grow to cover around 60%+ of UK premises by the end of 2019 or 2020, albeit still mostly in urban areas. Officially it’s supposed to be the end of 2019 but the current level of progress makes us think this might slip into late 2020 or they’ll fall well short. So far they’ve completed approximately 1.3 million premises since Project Lightning began.

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said:

“Our second quarter results were underpinned by continued momentum at Virgin Media, which generated record Q2 rebased4 revenue and subscriber growth, delivering a 4.1% top-line increase while adding 112,000 net RGU additions. Enhanced broadband speeds and the continued roll out of our V6 set top box helped deliver a substantial increase in our triple-play acquisitions, improved growth on our existing footprint and increased ARPU.”

Meanwhile Virgin Media also confirmed that they had a total Mobile (EE MVNO) customer base of 3,098,600 (up from 3,018,000 in Q1 2018) and 76% of their broadband base is now on an ultrafast (100Mbps+) capable package (up from 73%). We should also add that they have 4,838,600 telephone customers in the UK and 4,159,200 video / TV users, while 61% of their broadband base is using the Hub 3.0 (SuperHub v3) router.

Otherwise there’s still no news on when the first UK customer trials of their future Gigabit capable DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade might begin, although strictly speaking this isn’t yet necessary since their existing EuroDOCSIS3 network could potentially reach 500Mbps or possibly a little faster. Not that anybody needs faster than the top 350Mbps tier right now but.. bragging rights etc.

On the financial front the operator also saw quarterly UK revenues of £1,179.9m (up from £1,135.7m in the same period last year) and their total capital expenditure was £100.8m (down sharply from £170.4m in the same period last year).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Meadmodj

    The key point is “112,000 net RGU” showing that its not simply increasing the premises passed but their ability to convert new and existing connectivity to revenue particularly with triple play offers. Assuming there are also losses the figure looks impressive considering the competition from TalkTalk and Sky.

  2. Kenneth campbell

    I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED IF BT AND OPENREACH WAS BEING RUN FOR BONUSES FOR THE MANAGERS ? THE REASON THIS COUNTRY IS SO FAR BEHIND OTHER COUNTRIES WITH THERE BROADBAND.

  3. BuckleZ

    I’ve tried all the ISPs from ADSL, ADSL2, VDSL2, etc and can safely say Virgin lead the way for me.

    Just need to invest in my own router.

    Glad they’re back rolling out new areas.

    • Meadmodj

      The VIVID product will always beat the limitations of the current ADSL/VDSL technologies just as FTTP beats VIVID. I would have preferred a single UK FTTP infrastructure approach long ago but considering where we are a choice of network provider will be good for the market short term and long term.

    • Simon

      I agree. VM are doing now what BT have never done and probably never will. I still have FTTC as well as 350/20 and will continue to go with the speed boosts – But for the last 5 years and probably the next 10 – nothing is touching Virgin – which is good and bad in regards to more speed.

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