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Virgin Media O2 UK Extends Network to 20,000 Wrexham Premises

Thursday, September 30th, 2021 (3:53 pm) - Score 1,536
virgin media van at dusk 2020

Broadband ISP and TV provider Virgin Media UK (VMO2) has today announced that 20,000 premises in Wrexham (North Wales) can now gain access to their gigabit-capable network, with further expansion planned for 2022. The operator has so far invested some £12m into the local rollout.

At this point it’s worth remembering that the latest announcement actually represents somewhat of a delay, which is because Virgin Media first announced their expansion plans for Wrexham all the way back in 2016 (here). At that time the plan was to cover 24,000 premises – mostly via their older Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) network – by the end of 2019, which now looks as if it won’t be achieved until 2022, albeit with greater use of FTTP.

NOTE: Prices for their top 1130Mbps package (average advertised speed) start at £62 per month on an 18-month contract term.

Nevertheless, in order to celebrate the 20,000 premises milestone, VM have gifted a free broadband connection to the local Venture community centre in Wrexham. The move comes several months after VM, as part of its partnership with the charity Business in the Community, also provided the Venture with 15 laptops and mobile data dongles to help local schoolchildren and young adults take part in online learning at the centre.

The work forms part of their wider Project Lightning build, which has already extended VM’s network to cover an additional 2.5 million UK premises since 2015/16. The operator’s original network was deployed using HFC technology, but since 2019/20 most of their new build has used FTTP via Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG) – both methods make use of the DOCSIS 3.1 standard to harness the same consumer kit.

In addition, VMO2 recently announced that they intend to upgrade their entire network (including some 14.3 million premises in existing HFC areas) to FTTP by the end of 2028 (here). On top of that they’ve previously proposed (here) to expand the reach of their network, using FTTP, to cover c.7 million premises in new areas (some of these will be rural).

A wholesale solution for third-party UK ISPs is also still being prepared, but has yet to find the support it needs in order to launch.

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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.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. cheesemp says:

    I wish there was some way to find out about VM/Openreach/etc plans. I’ve seen VM have a few roadworks registered on my towns bypass on one.network (we have nothing but FTTC currently) but its impossible to tell if it means they are expanding locally or (more likely) working to cover a new estate a few miles away/just doing back haul work. I appreciate there is some commercial sensitivity to the data but are they really worried announcing it a month or two early is really going to cause Openreach or some altnet to change their plans?

  2. Winston Smith says:

    For new customers Gig1 is now the same price as M500.

    As Gig1 should be available to all VMO2 customers within 3 months, it makes M500 somewhat pointless.

    I wonder if they’ll drop M500 and M600 at the end of the year.

    1. A says:

      M500 isn’t the same price as Gig1. Look at the broadband plus phone deals, for some reason they are cheaper.

      I’d imagine we might see some of the lower tiers scrapped, M50 isn’t available with a voip phone now and has always had terrible upload speeds, would make sense to condense 200 and 350 into 250 to give 100,250,500,1000 from 50&100,200,350&500,1000.

    2. Roger_Gooner says:

      Although Gig1 and M500 both cost £62pm the bigger picture is that M500 can also be ordered as part of “Bigger Bundle” comprising M500, weekend landline and TV including the Maxit package – all for £55pm because Virgin Media is really after triple play customers. There is no danger of M500 disappearing soon unless VM replaces it with M600.

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