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Virgin Media O2 UK Put FTTP Broadband Live in Stirling via Nexfibre

Thursday, Sep 14th, 2023 (12:43 pm) - Score 3,744
Virgin Media O2 Engineers Digging Trench

Broadband ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) has confirmed that their new 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / XGS-PON) network, delivered via wholesale network partner nexfibre, has for the first time gone live across the small City of Stirling in Scotland – covering 6,900 homes.

The move is interesting because, unlike most UK cities, Virgin Media are arriving somewhat late to the gigabit-network party in Stirling. Not so long ago there were no full fibre networks with significant coverage in the area, but then CityFibre became the first to cover the whole city and Openreach have also deployed across a few parts. Now both are finally being joined by Virgin Media, albeit via the semi-separate nexfibre network.

Just to recap. Telefónica, Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital Partners create a new joint venture firm called nexfibre in 2022 (here), which aims to deploy a separate open access full fibre network to reach “up to” 7 million UK homes in areas NOT currently served by Virgin Media – starting with 5 million by 2026. But Virgin Media is currently the only live ISP on this network (here).

Fernando Molina, CTIO at nexfibre, said:

“By investing in the City of Stirling, nexfibre will enable thousands of households and businesses to access the benefits of ultrafast broadband, including being able to participate in the local economy and connect with their communities.

We are on a mission to build and expand our network in suburban and semi-rural areas and look forward to continuing to do so in the areas surrounding Stirling, helping to close the digital divide and boost opportunities for thousands of people.”

So far nexfibre has already covered over 300,000 premises (adding 175,500 in the last quarter alone), although they’ve yet to reveal a solid rollout plan and thus consumers often remain uncertain about whether they’ll be reached by the network’s future expansion plans. But at least now we know that Stirling is one of those locations and the build is continuing, so more homes and businesses should benefit in the future.

On the other hand, we suspect that CityFibre’s various ISPs (e.g. Vodafone, TalkTalk, Zen Internet etc.) will have already scooped up quite a lot of customers.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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34 Responses
  1. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

    On the other hand do anyone know what happened with VMO2 deal with OFNL? For the short period of time VM was listed on OFNL Residential ISP page among other ISPs linking to the post code check on their page , but then it disappeared from OFNL page.

    1. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      VMO2 only had a duct access agreement with the parent company of OFNL, listing them as a OFNL ISP isn’t accurate. It would be like Openreach listing PIA customers as on the Openreach network.

    2. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      @Alex A, but still. I’ve checked some postcodes I know OFNL has their infrastructure and VMO2 isn’t available there not to say that it is available just outside of OFNL network within the same town. I know it could be a delay in updating their postcode database but it’s been a while now. For me it looks more like withdrawn.

  2. Avatar photo Jamie Simms says:

    Although not listed online Nexfibre are very busy in Market Harborough Leicestershire installing their new FTTP network.

    The 60+ cabinets have been in a few weeks now and teams are pulling in Green plastic microduct then another team appears to be putting new Fibre core into 3 or 4 larger boxes around the town

    1. Avatar photo Clive peters says:

      are they putting microfibres to each toby box?

  3. Avatar photo Iain says:

    So this is pretty interesting, because it might be the case that established player (if we consider nexfibre to be a sibling of Virgin Media O2) is overbuilding an altnet (CityFibre).

    Maybe that means it can be profitable for altnets to overbuild established players *if* they have deep enough pockets, to wait to acquire customers.

    1. Avatar photo James says:

      @Iain
      Difference is Cityfibre is a wholesaler only. From what I’ve seen so far they’re finding it difficult to achieve decent take-up. They’re currently under immense financial pressure.

      I would expect VM02 to find it easier to achieve decent take-up and make it profitable in a shorter time frame.

    2. Avatar photo FibreEng says:

      @James

      Nexfibre are a wholesaler too? But only have VM as their isp exclusively.

      Uptake in Stirlings Cityfibre build after 3 years is over 30% and the take up is mostly within MDUs… which VM haven’t covered in Stirling as far as I’m lead to believe.

    3. Avatar photo FibreEng says:

      Also worth mentioning CF build in Stirling covers 17.5k premises, VM have missed tonnes of Stirling and surrounding areas due to mostly using PIA… they’ve dropped tobys off in some estates

    4. Avatar photo James says:

      @FibreEng
      Nexfibre are a wholesaler but have VM exclusively as their ISP…

      They’re basically the same company, they build the network and are also the Internet Service Provider.

      Much easier, more straight forward and more efficient than what Cityfibre are attempting to do.

    5. Avatar photo FibreEng says:

      @james

      I wouldn’t say so if I’m honest, if it was branded and sold as nexfibre a reckon they’d get a good uptake. VM doesn’t have a good name anywhere you go and their pricing and customer service are renowned for being terrible.

      Virgin Media cabled lots of South and East Ayrshire about 5 years ago and the uptake was and still is dreadful due to their name.

    6. Avatar photo John says:

      I used to be a network engineer for VM, and before the days of Project Lighting (and FibreNest), VM had a deal with Persimmons. Pretty much every new estate close to the VM network were ducted and built. Think the houses were prewired as well. This would have been HFC not FTTP. One of the estates I was involved with had a 96% take up rate!

    7. Avatar photo Iain says:

      @FibreEng, you’re absolutely right: the scale of the CityFibre deployment across Stirling is way bigger.

      I wonder though if nexfibre have focused on any gaps in CityFibre deployment, or indeed how they chose what streets to target.

    8. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      @FibreEng: The nextfibre deal was done on the basis of wholesaling with VM as the anchor tenant. This was not in the case with Project Mustang, BTW.

      As for VM’s service: my experience is that both broadband and TV have been very reliable (on my HFC network), but OFCOM surveys show that VM is not good at handling complaints.

    9. Avatar photo FibreEng says:

      @iain is that the same ofcom who opened a case against the same Virgin media in July 2023?

      “We are investigating Virgin Media’s compliance with Ofcom rules relating to contract termination and complaints handling/facilitating appropriate access to ADR during 2022/23.”

      I think this Stirling build is phase 1, I hear premise count will be higher btw so I stand corrected!

    10. Avatar photo FibreEng says:

      Wrong @ meant to reply to Roger..

  4. Avatar photo Clive peters says:

    sorry, microducts

    1. Avatar photo Jamie Simms says:

      Market Harborough is an overbuild of current VM network, From what I can see they appear to be pulling through 3 rolls at a time of the Green microducting all the way to the smaller cabinets and then leaving it coiled up in the ground pits. I assume then engineers just pulling it to Toby when customer orders and they take out the coax cabling at the same time.

    2. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      @Jamie Simms: The migration to XGS-PON includes pulling through existing ducts 12mm microducts (up to five, three is more common), then fibre is blown through the chambers and spliced into one fibre at the cabinet. When all is ready in an area drop fibres will be installed into premises and coax finally removed.

    3. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Roger, this doesn’t really make sense. Could you rephrase?

      Definitely not a single fibre going in or out of one of those distribution cabinets and the fibre going in via the microducts feeds nodes one fibre to one connectorised drop.

      Splitting is done further up in the network which is why the multiple microducts into the distribution cabinets. A 16/12 or 14/12 microduct can happily carry a 288f cable.

  5. Avatar photo KingFrag says:

    They’ve been busy here in Penicuik to the south of Edinburgh for the past 5-6 months as well so it’s likely to go live at some point soon, although I don’t know how long their builds generally take.

    Big chunky (and pretty ugly) CBTs at the top of most of the telegraph poles and a smattering of the pale grey street cabinets around the place.

  6. Avatar photo yeehaa says:

    nexfibre are also building out in neighbouring Alloa in Clackmannanshire, as well as Ardrossan, Saltcoats in North Ayrshire. They are also building out in East Lothian: Haddington East Linton, Gullane, North Berwick and even as far out as Dunbar. You can check they’re building on the roadworksscotland.org website.

    1. Avatar photo Murray Sharp says:

      Yeah they are atttacking Clackmannanshire like an army deployment

  7. Avatar photo Philip Adams says:

    Same Here in Shrewsbury. Our road was done with micro ducts about 4 weeks ago.
    Full fibre has done a lot of the town, via poles mostly. Open reach has done odd bits

  8. Avatar photo Tom says:

    Why are there no reviews of Virgin Media’s PON offering through nexfibre? I know the speeds are identical to their DOCSIS plans for now, but it’d still like to know how it performs otherwise and how the installation is done. I can’t find a single review or account online and they’ve deployed over 300,000 already apparently, you’d think people would be sharing their experience on the ISPReview forum and elsewhere.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Good question. But it might not be clear to most customers that they’re in a nexfibre area. I mean, given Project Lightning was Virgin Media proper.

    2. Avatar photo Ashley Proctor says:

      I believe I’m in a Nexfibre rollout area – currently have a 1Gig plan from Virgin Media that is delivered via XGS-PON.

      The build in the area started back at the end of February. I noticed at the beginning of July that the VM website was taking orders, so placed my order. Had the usual VM nightmare with delayed dates and missed appointments, along with the well known poor customer service – but finally got the service installed on 11th August.

      Even then, the install wasn’t straightforward as they had issues sourcing the Hub 5x needed for XGS-PON installs. Engineer came back to install the hub on 14th Aug, only to then have issues making the service active. That was finally sorted the next day (incorrect serial number was jotted down).

      Since then, I’ve been very impressed -but only with the internet service itself. Reliable and rock solid speeds – getting what i;m paying for at all times of day. The only thing letting it down is the non-functioning Modem Mode on the Hub 5x (although I believe a future firmware update is addressing that).

      I know they’re having problems activating the network round here though. There are some streets in the village that still can’t order, and potential customers are being told different things when they’re chasing for order updates. I don’t think Nexfibre/VM themselves know where things are up to!

    3. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Thanks Ashely, that’s very interesting. Fingers crossed they sort modem mode for you (and others).

    4. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      @Tom: There are very few XGS-PON installations, so few reviews. One thing to note is that it’s for broadband as the 360 STB only works with DOCSIS. Liberty Global will no doubt produce a STB that records live TV streams, but in the meantime the Stream box is all that’s available.

    5. Avatar photo Martyn Day says:

      I’m in a xgspon area, been live for some time now, getting the ol 1000/100.

      Ashley Proctor, you know modemn mode is on it? its just hidden?

      happy to answer any questions, Martyn on the forums

  9. Avatar photo Murray Sharp says:

    In these areas – are they offering the tv packages? If they are is there any noticeable live tv delay on sports?

    1. Avatar photo Martyn Da says:

      there is tv packages but only for the stream box, I have one but never used it.

  10. Avatar photo vLAB-STU says:

    The guys have not long arrived at the top of my street doing the starts of the installs. I have noticed that outside my house its marked with numbers and same all down my street. I am in Tillicoultry.

    Actually thankful that they have turned up, my 33/7 just really doesnt cut it these days with Updates for PS5 being 200/300gb sometimes. Try telling your Son that he needs to wait over night for updates 🙁

    I have had VM before on the RG6 cable DOCSIS install, I take it that this is just FTTP over fibre, then there is a converter (NTE) that takes it to RG6 for the SuperHubs? Does modem mode work on these fine? planning on uplinking this to my Sophos FW.

  11. Avatar photo Aaron Bolton says:

    @Martyn Day

    Have you tested modem mode I’ve be unable to use it even through the hidden menu

Comments are closed

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