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Virgin Media UK Build FTTP Broadband to 9800 Homes in Oldham

Thursday, February 4th, 2021 (4:27 pm) - Score 2,880
virgin media engineer ofcom observing

Some 9,800 additional homes in the Oldham area of Greater Manchester 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) broadband network, which has benefited from last year’s Dark Fibre contract.

The deployment forms part of the operator’s on-going Project Lightning build, which has so far extended their network to cover a further 2.4 million UK premises. The operator’s original network was deployed using Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) technology, but recent builds like the one above use 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 up to 636Mbps from their existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 based packages (via their top TV bundle).

The deployment in Oldham is particularly interesting because it was actually one of the very first areas to benefit from Project Lightning back in 2016. Meanwhile the latest (second) expansion appears to have benefited from a separate £24m Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) contract, which Virgin Media signed with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) almost a year ago (here).

Under the GMCA/LFFN agreement VM was tasked with deploying “up to” 2,700km of new gigabit speed fibre to serve 1,700 public sector sites across the city-region, but they can also use that infrastructure as a foundation to help reach additional homes (albeit at their own cost via private investment).

Interestingly, Manchester was one of the first areas to benefit from Virgin Media’s new 1Gbps speed, although for whatever reason the new announcement suggests that this hasn’t yet been switched-on in the Oldham area (i.e. it only references average top speeds of 516Mbps, like under the older EuroDOCSIS 3 network).

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Mark Jackson
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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13 Responses
  1. Avatar Gavin says:

    Is there any advantage of having a Virgin FTTP connection over a DOCSIS 3.1 connection?

    1. Avatar JP says:

      Not for the foreseeable future no.

  2. Avatar Matt says:

    How about thay at lest bring 1gbps to everyone befor expanding

    1. Avatar JP says:

      Because without new territories and customers they won’t have any investment coming to them to use on investing in existing networks, Gig1 isn’t going to be much use if they don’t upgrade the infrastructure behind it first.

    2. Avatar Anonymouse says:

      Why is it so important to get access to their Gig1?

      Virtually everything on their network can get upto 500/600 meg.

      I would like their service ASAP, but to be fair… the rollout is happening exceptionally quickly.

    3. Avatar ScoobySnax says:

      Yeah seems to be an obsession with a speed not achievable by mostly all current equipment and services.

      Nevermind the lack up upload which is useless otherwise but hey it’s sekling so will continue to be mis-sold to morons.

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    So Frustrating. I’ve seen Virgin expand all around us over the last six months – so much building, but our 10yr old housing development is stuck in Wayleave. Nobody seems to care.

    1. Avatar Onephat says:

      Agreed anonymouse. I have their 600mb service (synced at 690) and it’s plenty fast enough for me to work from home while the kids stream 4k rubbish around the house. Looking at the router stats we hardly max it out ever.

  4. Avatar James™ says:

    At what point will they be forced to wholesale their network? Or do you think they will open it before hand?

    1. Avatar ex VM network engineer says:

      its a privately funded network so not obliged to open their network as BT were,thats not to say they dont lease their duct space to external isp’s.

    2. Avatar Oggy says:

      Going waaaaay back were they not going to offer wholesale and AOL were going to take them up on it?

      Have I imagined that?

  5. Avatar JW says:

    NTL did wholesale to AOL
    It wasn’t particularly successful, many customers weren’t
    Billed correctly (At all in fact)
    When they became VM, they bought the remaining cable customers back from AOL and migrated them to VM billing.

  6. Avatar Benjamin says:

    Why is BT / Openreach so slow to act? FTTC is all that’s available in Oldham thus far, been that way for ages. Lines over copper at 300m and up results in terrible returns for some lines, my connection being no different.

    I left Virgin Media back in 2016 because of high congestion in the Oldham area during peak times. The connection was always painfully slow for upwards of 2 to 2 and a half years. No idea if that’s changed for the better in recent years.

    BT need to speed up their own FTTP rollout.

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