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Virgin Media Finish FTTP Rollout to 4,500 Sowerby Bridge Homes

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 (10:08 am) - Score 1,894
virgin media small trench digger fibre

Some 4,500 homes in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, have now gained access to Virgin Media UK’s new “gigabit-capable” Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband and TV network. The work forms part of their on-going Project Lightning network expansion.

At present locals should be able to access a top (average peak time) download speed of 516Mbps (soon to be 600Mbps on their Ultimate Oomph TV bundle) via the new “full fibre” network, but by the end of 2021 they should be able to benefit from the new DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade that will make downloads of 1Gbps+ possible (here).

As usual this effort forms part of the operator’s £3bn Project Lightning build, which originally aimed to add an additional 4 million premises to their UK coverage (so far they’ve done c.2.2 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.

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17 Responses
  1. VM Project Tortoise says:

    In my area, project lightning only cabled up council estates / social housing and they ignored “owned” houses all within easy reach.

    Some of the properties that could easily be connected are ignored because VM have a completely apathetic attitude to connecting new customers. Meanwhile OpenReach are always right in there without whinging their backsides off about how much the cable costs.

    The reasoning behind VirginMedia ‘planning’ these expansions can only be described as completely crackpot and utterly illogical beyond belief.

    Trying to contact somebody from VM is also borderline impossible, they are simply not interested even if you want to pay the build costs.

    1. CarlT says:

      I strongly suspect you don’t know the reasoning behind the choices they made. They don’t avoid ‘owned’ properties just because. Either there was something preventing their building or it would’ve gone over budget per property.

      A nice, long terrace of houses are a lot cheaper to build to than a bunch of detached properties with block paving in between them, this ignoring issues around wayleave to build down private drives.

    2. A_Builder says:

      I’d agree.

      Block paving is a nightmare to lift and reinstate on any scale.

      You need to strip back wider then you need so you can compact the underlying material properly.

      It is lot more time consuming to cut down through and then to put back than tarmac never mind issues with broken blocks etc.

    3. VM Project Tortoise says:

      Yes I am aware of the reason:

      VM target council houses and poorer ends of society because they know these people are home all day and most likeliest to pay for VM’s top premium packages.

      So much for digital inclusion? Companies like VM are actively discriminating against society, deciding who can or cannot access the services just to save a few quid on “block paving” costs. Right.

      It amounts to discrimination whichever way you look at it.

    4. VM Project Tortoise says:

      In another comments thread:

      “…NGA for all
      July 8, 2020 at 11:50 am
      Post Covid-19 we need jobs, jobs, and more jobs….”

      So are we suggesting the UK has become a defeatist lazy society where things have become overwhelmingly challenging for builders like moving some paving slabs, which is what you are saying is effectively preventing our future generations from receiving decent broadband and inclusion to digital services?

      Are you suggesting nobody from British society is willing to do this for a reasonable price? Even after Covid as NGA’s comment suggests? Almost a third of the country is unemployed right now. Including builders.

      We will have to scribe your wonderful and colourful excuses to the British history books:

      HISTORY of 2020 (As studied in year 2040)

      “…Due to exceptionally tightfisted shortsighted telecoms companies and lazy overpaid civil engineering contractors of the 2020’s who could not be bothered moving some paving slabs to run the fibres required to provide the minimum basic acceptable level of digital services, an unfortunate generation of society had to remain on outdated copper and aluminium connections as neither of the main telecommunication providers could possibly agree to co-exist or cooperate with each other and share each others ducts, therefore in order to keep up the Telco wars it was far easier to willingly choose disenfranchise an entire generation of the population to prove a worthless point… This is despite each household repaying the costs of external installation works repeatedly each year for the previous 20 years, however this overwhelming greed was simply not enough for the Telco’s to budge their decisions. In hindsight, 20 years ago in 2020 this decision is deemed monumentally stupid and untold damage has been done to the education of millions.

      Despite other solutions being available twenty years ago in 2020 (such as outdated 5G) these could not be rolled out due to the lack of builders unwillingness to lay fibres as well, because this too was prevented by pesky paving blocks. Instead, twenty years ago people tried using 4G which was unlimited but a now bankrupt company known as Network Three in its day offered 100Meg 4G but when customers tried it they had copper dial up speeds therefore the THREE network did not survive past the year 2023 for failing to keep up its offerings from the Great Paving Block Scandal of 2020”

    5. CarlT says:

      Ignoring the ranting and rambling as much as possible block paving isn’t a ‘few quid’ extra in costs, building through it takes three times as long and costs close to three times as much as you have to lift it all up, dig, then put it all back.

      It doesn’t amount to discrimination whichever way you look at it at all. You aren’t entitled to VM spending their money to reach you. They’re a private company that decide where they are to spend their money.

      The build to my previous property was premised around higher take up and higher earnings per customer as they expected these ‘owned properties’ to have people with higher disposable incomes in them that are happy to pay more for premium services.

      Beyond that by all means rant away. Frustrating as I’m sure it is, and you do seem intensely frustrated going by the rambling, it is what it is.

      I’ll take the stuff about block paving as my being correct and there being block paving / private drives / etc leading to these ‘owned properties’ while the council estates are nice, easy tarmac pavements but whatever does it for you.

      Through regular tarmac 60+ metres a day – maybe 10 properties depending on the type – is quite possible with narrow trench FTTP build. With a mix of mostly block paving with some tarmac that becomes a single property a day as you have to lift the block, which may be concreted in, dig underneath, then put it back.

      How dare ‘short sighted’ privately held companies look after their shareholders and profits rather than behaving like charities. The humanity.

    6. VM Project Tortoise says:

      Broadband is commonly described as a utility. Same category as Electricity, Water, Gas.

      With VM declining to connect houses, especially those within tens of metres of existing infrastructure is indeed discrimination and is disenfranchising a generation of society for living in a postcode lottery.

      Parcel companies deliver “to all” within a city, whether it costs 10 pence in fuel (next to the depot) or £10 fuel to reach you furthest away from the depot, they will still manage it. Scotland and Islands are different. There is no infrastructure at all, so not comparable argument. This is concerning areas already with significant coverage here.

      Any Telco who lays the fibres will always make the money back. Average VM BB+TV packages cost circa £1000 a year, they will make all that money back in the next 2-3 years and profit for another 10,20,30 years onwards, which nobody mentions. OH look at that PROFIT!

      Everyone is too obsessed with the “now” costs. Not the £10K VM make in the next 10 years from their new customers.

      If the block paving is on the customer side, I’ve seen the cable ran round the front garden fence or wall at ankle height so it doesn’t even need to be disturbed. If the customer wants the feed hidden they can pay for that individually.

      People aren’t DENIED Utility connection to Water or Electricity (oh the shareholders might have to pay?!) so who do they think they are denying half a town or city their broadband, especially worse when the potential customer can see the VM cabinet from their house?

      Why are so many people defending these blatant Double Standards?

      Why can these companies not work together for the benefit of society?

      Running ONE VM fibre down an OpenReach duct would not impact anybody. It is just pure cold-war Telco selfishness stopping everyone in society acquiring access to an essential utility.

      Why is this such a problem these companies cannot cooperate?

      Mobile Networks share masts. Proving cooperation within Telco’s is indeed possible…

    7. joe says:

      CarlT’s told you the score so stop wasting your time…

    8. VM Project Tortoise says:

      Oh Joe, so your attitude is; TOUGH LUCK to the rest of us who are not within VM cabled streets?

      And we are supposed to accept your final answer? Joe and CarlT have spoken! You and your children do not deserve broadband this century. Go and reboot your 512K ADSL router you paupers, for living in the wrong type of house, in the wrong postcode…

      Elon Musk is the new Man from Del Monte because he says YES. It can be done. Elon Musk can design a car that drives itself. A space rocket that lands back in the same spot again. A power system that powers the grid on batteries saving burning tons of coal. He designed a tunnel motorway for his electric cars. BUT in comparison; British VM can’t run a bit of wire? ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC makes you ashamed to be British.

      This is why this country is in a mess, “computer says nooooooo”. We must obey that computer. The computer is always right. Forget about involving human intelligence or benefit for society.

      There are VM cabs everywhere but the company is too lazy to send round a team to run a bit of wire?

      On this very website we’re boasting in articles how quick and cheap it is to cut 15mm gaps in the tarmac pavement to fibre up a whole city in a matter of weeks.

      Why are we keeping that machine locked away and instead we’re busy sat-on-hands doing the absolute bare minimum mankind can possibly get away with?

      What is this? 1970’s with picket lines and unions saying we should strike?

      Companies like VM misunderstand their place in society. You can no longer behave like this and deliberately choose to exclude half a town or city. They need to realise this is absolutely unacceptable.

      Electricity and Water companies don’t get to pick and choose and decide who their customers might be so neither should VM especially when the duct runs past the street junction.

    9. CarlT says:

      Go complain to the government. They’re the ones who set the rules on what people are entitled to, and in the case of telecommunications that’s two providers – BT outside of Hull and Kingston Comms in Hull.

      Virgin Media’s cable network isn’t one of them. I’m not entitled to be connected to it any more than you are, and am not. Much as I’m not entitled to be connected to CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, etc, etc, etc.

      BTW computer didn’t say ‘no’ to your street a surveyor, a human being, did. It may get picked up in a subsequent phase depending on a number of factors, however the lack of comment on block paving / private roads / etc suggests there was more to the decision than VM randomly deciding they didn’t fancy doing the street just because. The reverse snobbery was a nice touch, though. VM build to the chavs but don’t touch the ‘owned properties’.

      I’ve seen a lot of people feel entitled to a lot of things here. I have to admit being entitled to an alternative network owned partly by an American with no legal service obligation at all is a new one.

      The idea that entire cities can be cabled up in weeks using 15 mm cuts as celebrated on here is a nice touch, too. It took VM 2 years to build to 10,000 premises in a previous area I lived in. A small city, Salisbury, making extensive use of pre-existing infrastructure took a year give or take.

      Again, I hope that whatever factors excluded your street from the rollout, there could be many, are resolved, or VM’s increasing use of PIA permits them to build to you, or even Openreach themselves deploy ultrafast.

      None of them are going to go out of their way to do so, though. Your ‘owned properties’ aren’t a super-special priority, there are millions of homes in need of upgrade.

    10. CarlT says:

      As a last one

      ‘Any Telco who lays the fibres will always make the money back. Average VM BB+TV packages cost circa £1000 a year, they will make all that money back in the next 2-3 years and profit for another 10,20,30 years onwards, which nobody mentions. OH look at that PROFIT!’

      So why hasn’t anyone if the returns are that fast? Do you seriously believe this is true and all the investors able to borrow money for a few % a year wouldn’t be throwing it at operators if it were this quick?

      I understand frustration but this is absurd. It costs money to build. It costs money to connect customers up and the average revenue for VM from a customer is about 50% of what you think it is. It costs money to operate the service so it’s not pure profit.

      VM have a budget of about £600 per premises passed. Your area comes in under that in the survey they build. It doesn’t they won’t. They burned themselves overspending earlier in the rollout, things cost way more than they wanted them to and took way longer than they wanted them to.

      Openreach dive in because they have to. Virgin Media don’t. I’ve no idea what kind of broadband you have at home but hope that a service more suitable to your needs arrives sooner rather than later.

    11. Qqq says:

      It’s embarrassing to see someone sitting here, having a full blown melt down that a provider won’t do his home but decide to do others.

    12. joe says:

      Qqq: The entitlement is powerful with this one….

  2. Gary (the other one) says:

    You say electricity and water companies don’t get to choose, yet if you don’t pony up the money to install their services initially that’s exactly what they do.

    Give Virgin Media business a ring, pony up your money and chances are they’ll install it for you. Ah, you want it for free at no risk to yourself. The entitlement generation is strong in this one.

    1. Aaron says:

      Wait, you’re saying I’m NOT entitled to whatever I want from a privately run business of whom have investors and permission from local government to install in those properties without going through rings roundabouts?!
      How dare you say I must fork out of my own pocket for a provider of which I WANT and solely ME???

      Honestly though, the entitlement from him is disgusting and he should be ashamed at his childish outburst.

  3. I have VM ;-) says:

    @VM Project Tortoise I really do hope VM install for you soon, that way you will really know what frustration is, that is when it stops working and you spend hour after hour trying to convince some idiot that it’s not just a wi-fi fault and it’s something else. Then you get cut off, and starts all over again, you go through everything every time you phone up with a fault! I have VM as does the entire rest of our privately owned estate. I lived the frustration of getting faults fixed,…..,………………………………… eventually.

  4. Mark says:

    I’m in the same situation regarding Virgin Media. They are currently cabling up my area, and the status of the work according to roadworks.org misses out two nearby streets around me including mine.

    There is also a large chunk with no cable around half a mile further down which has no scheduled work although it’s nearer to the existing network than I am.

    Can it be assumed that they will come back after the current expired time has elapsed – (after November) and finish these off or not, or could it be more about budget allocated for the area.

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