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Openreach Help Virgin Media Build to 15500 Premises in Lurgan

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 (9:40 am) - Score 3,203
virgin media fttp and docsis deployment swindon

Cable operator Virgin Media UK has announced that they’ve been able to harness Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts in order to complete the expansion of their FTTP based ultrafast broadband and TV network to 15,500 premises (homes and businesses) in the town of Lurgan, County Armagh (Northern Ireland).

Virgin first began using Openreach’s regulated Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product earlier this year in Pontyclun, South Wales (here). The PIA solution should make it cheaper, quicker and easier for UK ISPs to deploy or extend their own fibre broadband networks by harnessing space in OR’s existing underground cable ducts and overground telegraph poles.

The deployment in Lurgan represents Virgin Media’s first use of PIA in Northern Ireland. Often PIA is best for specific use cases and in this example the company said it faced “challenges when it came to cabling the area close to the railway crossing along William Street,” which was overcome by using Openreach’s ducts.

As a result the operator’s Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and FTTP based 500Mbps+ capable broadband and TV network is now available to nearly 27,000 homes and businesses in the borough, with Lurgan being the third town following the company’s expansion works in Portadown and Craigavon last year.

Seamus Mccorry, VM Regional Director for N.Ireland, said:

“More than 15,000 homes across Lurgan can now benefit from a broadband boost thanks to Virgin Media’s investment in the area. Our ultrafast network makes it easier and faster for people to browse, stream, shop and download without the worry of slow speeds. We’re connecting people to the things they love.”

Since the company launched its Project Lightning expansion programme in 2015, it has invested close to £100m in Northern Ireland and now offers “ultrafast broadband” services to around 350,000 homes and businesses across the country. Virgin Media has also connected more than 250 new housing developments to its network.

Back in March the operator announced that it was stepping up its investment in N.Ireland and opening a new office, which will house the majority of their 350 employees in the country. All of this work looks set to complement their DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade (here), which by the end of 2021 should boost their top broadband download speeds up to 1Gbps across the UK (starting in Southampton and Greater Manchester).

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Wow, seven years it has taken for something of this scale. Interesting to see how both retail arms now compete in Lurgan.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      There are about 15 million premises of examples of how Virgin Media and Openreach-based products compete. There are over a million premises of examples of how VM and Openreach FTTP compete so not sure what this one is about.

      The PIA use was and remains tactical. It’s not 15,500 premises of PIA, it was used to mitigate certain complications around the build.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @NGA

      I don’t understand why this is not welcome?

      VM are using something that Alt Nets are using presumably to get something active quicker/cheaper.

      Is that not an example of the system working as it should to break down barriers and increase competition?

      Consumers/businesses can then choose between OR (and its wholesaled offerings) and VM. Neither outfit is perfect but there is competition and competition breeds improvements in offerings.

    3. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Carl T thanks for the clarification, tactical use and by-pass, a momentary spot of wishful thinking.

      A Builder.. it was welcome, a positive comment but Carl T has set that straight.

  2. Avatar Kevin says:

    Good that they are doing this but The only thing about this that Openreach will be dragging their heals if anything goes wrong like fix a blocked or collapsed duct like they usually do and hold Virgin back..

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Virgin will fix the blocked / collapsed duct assuming they are certified to by digging and building a jointing chamber but whatever.

  3. Avatar Bonjovi says:

    I wonder when Virgin will open their ducts for Openreach to use at a competitive price. When will OFCOM intervene??

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      When VM are assessed to have significant market power.

      Spoiler: not happening.

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