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Virgin Media UK Add 6,800 Premises in Accrington to FTTP Rollout

Friday, January 22nd, 2021 (12:51 pm) - Score 2,256

Some 6,800 additional homes in the town of Accrington, which sits in Lancashire (England), have just become the latest to benefit from the on-going expansion of UK ISP Virgin Media’s (Liberty Global) new gigabit-capable and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband network.

The deployment forms part of the operator’s £3bn Project Lightning build, which originally aimed to add an additional 4 million premises to their UK coverage by 2020 but has so far only completed 2.4 million. The operator’s existing network was deployed using Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) technology, but recent builds like the one above tend to adopt FTTP via Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG) – both methods make use of the DOCSIS standard so as to harness the same consumer hardware.

At the same time Virgin Media are also rolling out their latest DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade across the United Kingdom, which by the end of 2021 aims to have made download speeds of 1Gbps+ possible across their entire network of c.16 million premises (here). Outside of those areas you can currently expect average speeds to reach 636Mbps from their existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 based packages (via their top TV bundle).

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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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22 Responses
  1. Anna says:

    This is great – it’s a shame they can’t finish actual areas they started but I guess the are shitting themselves with Altnets coming on the scene. ?

    1. Jack says:

      I agree! Some of the streets were missed out where I am. After phoning them, the only reason seems to be based on failures at the planning stage.

      Apparently, they are asked to plan for a certain number of houses, and even if the deployment doesn’t follow around the corner to a last few properties then so be it.

      They also continue to make the error of doing one side of a street and not the other leaving people frustrated.

    2. Anna says:

      Well CF is going to be the first there so it is looking good for 12 months down the line!

    3. Yeehaa says:

      @Jack I know what you mean about missing one side of the street. Back in the late 90s Telewest dug up the opposite side of our street and installed cable and around other streets nearby. I thought, I guess they’ll be installing cable on our side of the street soon… How wrong I was! They did come eventually back 3 years later and did our side of the street. LOL

  2. Winston Smith says:

    Re DOCSIS 3.1; given it’s taken VM 15 months to upgrade around 45% of their network, how likely are they to upgrade the rest in less than 12 months?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Delays are always possible, plus it’s unclear whether that end of 2021 date is a financial or calendar year, but they should have the vast majority polished off this year.

    2. Roger_Gooner says:

      There is a limited number of people with the expertise to carry out the necessary configuration and other changes, so progress on programmes like this is never linear, always starting slowly and ramping up as experience is gained on how best to do it.

    3. Meadmodj says:

      It will not just be the 3.1 upgrade. They need also to invest in more capacity within their legacy. Despite having VM POPS 6 of the 15 houses in our road (including mine, previous customer twice) can no longer order VM services and 3 have never been ducted from their main box. So that is only 46.6% Ultrafast coverage. Ofcom says it is 87.5%. Just hope this isn’t common.

    4. Meadmodj says:

      Sorry that’s 40% Ultrafast. Thats due to another issue, Ofcom think there are 16 houses when there are only 15.

    5. CarlT says:


  3. Somerset says:

    VM have been building in Weston-super-Mare for the last year. Now appear to have given up, missing out large areas. Maybe because they found out Cityfibre were starting soon.

  4. Ben says:

    Do we know what the longer term plan is for Virgin FTTP? I’m assuming that their use of RFoG is only while they have a substantial co-ax network; at some point the vast majority of this will have been converted to FTTP at which point they’ll be using… GPON? Something else?

    1. CarlT says:

      Yes, and it’s not GPON.

    2. Ben says:


      > Yes

      Go on – share more? (or a link with some more info)

    3. Roger_Gooner says:

      There is a huge investment in the HFC network over the past 30 years and more, and it has a lot of life left in it. This network will be around for a long time as upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1 alone brings significant improvement in bandwidth in both directions.

      And it’s worth bearing in mind that coaxial cable is nothing like the inferior phone cables, some of it still aluminium, which is used in the local loop for DSL broadband.

  5. Matt says:

    Can’t belive I still haven’t got 1gbps hear yet ffs

  6. Matt says:

    As it go’s for alternative isp full fiber there very slow at rolling out also I can’t get it unless others won’t it and that’s stupid as that’s stopping me having it

  7. Vdsl only says:

    I live in a heavy built vm area but our estate was built 10 years ago. Even though the vm cables run past the entrance of the estate they just aren’t interested in providing provision. We only have copper service. Annoying as the houses opposite have it.

    1. yeehaa says:

      I’ve spoken to folk who work in the building industry and tell me that certain housebuilders will not work with VM under any circumstances! They didn’t elaborate on the reasons. I can only speculate on previous bad experiences with working with them or not being able to come to a financial agreement as reasons.

    2. Roger_Gooner says:

      The time to get your estate cabled was during its build, but it’s an unfortunate fact that too many developers failed to realise the importance of fast broadband and so never contacted VM or other operators such as BT. After the build any cabling will inevitably be much more expensive as roads and pavements have to be dug up.

    3. Fred says:

      It’s simple, don’t buy houses with poor Internet…

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