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4,500 Homes in Houghton-le-Spring Get Virgin Media Full Fibre

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 (9:35 am) - Score 2,199

Cable and fibre optic ISP Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has just completed another build of their 516Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband and TV network in County Durham, which has just gone live for 4,500 homes in the Sunderland town of Houghton-le-Spring, including the surrounding areas of Shiney Row and Penshaw.

The local roll-out forms part of Virgin Media’s £3bn Project Lightning build, which aims to add an additional 3-4 million premises to their UK coverage (so far they’ve completed around 2 million) using a mix of FTTP via Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG) and Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) technology. Both methods make use of the DOCSIS standard so as to harness the same consumer hardware.

On top of that the operator recently started to deploy their new DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade (here), which by the end of 2021 aims to have boosted their top broadband download speeds to 1Gbps+ (currently live around Southampton, Greater Manchester and Reading). Until then their top package is a 516Mbps service with uploads of 36Mbps (average).

Hugh Woolford, VM’s Regional Director for North East and Yorkshire, said:

“We’re delighted to have finished our expansion works Houghton-le-Spring. We’ve greatly valued the support and cooperation from Sunderland City Council as we have expanded our network. Now more than 4,500 homes and businesses have access to our ultrafast broadband services. Better connectivity means better browsing, streaming, gaming and all the other things we love to do online.”


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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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14 Responses
  1. Steve says:

    Out of interest, how much work is involved going from 3.0 to 3.1. Is it a mixture of software and hardware upgrades.

    1. jim says:

      It depends on their current hardware a small amount may work with just a firmware upgrade but more likely cabs will need a hardware upgrade of some kind.

    2. CarlT says:

      For downstream 3.1 no cabinets need upgrade. Software upgrade required on the equipment at VM towers.

      Upstream new line cards, hardware in hubsites, nothing in cabinets.

      For upstream that’s any good hardware in cabinets. VM have upgraded over half their hybrid network already, the FTTP is obviously good to go.

    3. Roger_Gooner says:

      Only the hub 4 supports 3.1 and all subscribers to Gig1 must have this hub.

  2. SymetricalAccess says:

    Might as well be wet string if their not going to take their foot of it’s throat. Upload needs a significant boost before I’ll order it anyway.

  3. JaJa says:

    The pedant in me……Houghton-le-spring is not a place in County Durham….its in Tyne & Wear.

    1. steven jobs says:

      It was historically

  4. Sherculisa says:

    Both Bedford and Birmingham then

    1. Anthony Couling says:

      When is the virgin media gig1 coming to Birmingham

  5. Jake says:

    Why are Virgin so incompetent at expanding their network? Project Lightning came to my area and disappeared after only cabling one end of the estate, never to return.

    I did a bit of cabinet spotting and we DO have the infrastructure going past the estate entrance but the planners say “cabling 10 houses is uneconomical”

    DUH there’s 400+ houses here that their blind planners deliberately ignored.

    Virgin Media is a company run by illogical process and whoever works there has NO clue about telecoms and has ZERO customer engagement skills. My whole estate is desperate for their services. My neighbours are luddites but even they cannot understand why Virgin are so moronic.

    Cable-My-Street website is the biggest WASTE OF TIME ever, It is company policy not to listen to potential customers. This is a highly arrogant self destructive company. Their contractors do not answer emails. Their customer services are untrained and more clueless about telecoms than my confused nan, their forums are a waste of time because of the lack of trained staff and wholly incorrect contradictory responses. They know NOTHING about their own network and NOTHING about the services. It is truly and utterly appalling and these type of staff are dedicated to embarrassing the company need an instant sacking.

    Virgin could save billions by sacking all the incompetent staff. Not one person there knows what’s going on. I feel deep pity for this company. You make BT look amazing and I really dislike them. Sorry but the impression Virgin give the public is dreadful. Virgin need to sort these problems out ASAP. Have TRAINED KNOWLEDGEABLE people onboard to stop letting customers down.

    1. Lee says:

      Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.

      But it’s not just then, they all seem incompetent.
      None of the companies I talked to could tell me when I can expect to get FTTP in my area.

      Hell, I’ve been asking the other two (by and sky) for approximately 5 years now when they’re going to increase speeds in my area (as they can’t get anywhere near the rubbish speeds of virgin) and each year they tell me the same rubbish “it’s coming soon”.

      Quite frankly the companies involved in building the UK’s infrastructure are not fit to do so, not in any way shape or form.

    2. CarlT says:

      New build estate? Lots of block paving?

    3. Olly says:

      It’s very simple.

      Network expansion costs (LOTS!!!) of money. Money is approved by a financial team. A financial team need to justify to the board (of directors) why spending money is cost-effective end economical in the SHORT term as well as long term.

      If your estate has been surveyed and only a handful of customers at, say 70 quid a month, are willing to sign up, it’s useless spending hundreds of thousands rolling out infra there.

      Virgin will come back when they can fleece you/r estate for lots of money and make a quick buck.

  6. Thetruth says:

    People moaning about a private company not entitling them to fast broadband should instead be asking what kind of country they live in that is not encouraging the costs of expansion. Broadband is a highly regulated business and it is this regulation people should be complaining about as the economics work against the private businesses who desire to expand but will not due to poor economics by YOUR government. Don’t shoot the messenger.

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