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24,000 Extra Coleraine Premises Covered by Virgin Media’s Full Fibre

Wednesday, Oct 25th, 2023 (3:00 pm) - Score 1,624
virgin media o2 network engineer at work 2021

UK ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) has revealed that they and nexfibre have completed another expansion of their 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / XGS-PON) broadband network, which is now serving an additional 24,000 homes and businesses in the Northern Ireland town and civil parish of Coleraine (County Londonderry).

Telefónica, Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital Partners created a new joint venture firm called nexfibre in 2022 (here) – backed by an investment of £4.5bn – that 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, which shares some of the same parents, is currently the only ISP on this network (here).

So far nexfibre has already covered over 500,000 premises (excluding the 175,000 they recently acquired from Upp), 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 a lot of their builds, like this one, have generally reflected extensions of Virgin Media’s existing deployment areas.

Rajiv Datta, CEO of nexfibre, said: “[Our] multi-million pound investment in Coleraine will enable thousands of households and businesses to access the benefits of full fibre broadband, including being able to participate in the local economy and connect with the community. It marks a significant step on our journey to connect 5 million premises by 2026.”

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Matt says:

    It would be nice to know where they plan on deploying the extensions of their network…

    I also wonder if the total amount they are aiming for will include areas with missed streets or not to reach that desired figure. Can you amass that amount of premises passed with just new builds and entirely new areas with no current footprint?

    Or, is the plan to also concentrate future rollouts in areas with competition from Openreach and other alternets, or places with no FTTP currently.

    1. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      A couple of months back Fibrus’ agents were offering special deals to customers in the Coleraine & Omagh areas of Northern Ireland to fend off future competition from VMO2 in these two towns, so presumably Omagh is very close on the horizon to being announced for the next stage of VMO2’s rollout in NI. Not sure if Fibrus is still offering these deals, but you can’t get them online, only via their sales reps AFAIK – they were £14 pm for 150/30 and £20 pm for 300/100 on a 24 month contract back in August/September but that was when Fibrus was having a general offer of only £5 pm more at the time for the 1150/30 and 300/100 packages outside of places covered by Project Stratum, so these prices from local sales reps might have now increased too.

    2. Avatar photo Terry O'Toole says:

      D’oh! Mistakes – should be £15pm for 150/30 (not £14pm) and 150/30 speed, not 1150/30!

    3. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      “I also wonder if the total amount they are aiming for will include areas with missed streets”

      You mean missed streets within VM’s existing footprint? I’d guess not, as many of these were missed for specific reasons of cost or problems to serve, and I doubt that VM will re-evaluate the properties marked as unserviceable on their database. Some might be possible under Nexfibre PIA if they were missed out from HFC in pre-PIA days, but even then there’s a cost of planning and resource mobilisation that’ll be a notable overhead for those unlucky areas, and in their shoes I’d concentrate those resources on significant new build as the unit cost will be much lower than low volume infill.

  2. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

    Nexfibre’s network is a combination of its own underground ducts plus Openreach’s poles and ducts using Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA). This network does not overlap Virgin Media’s network but does, as the article says, in many cases extend VM’s network. This makes sense as VM is actively installing VHUBs as part of its own the migration to XGS-PON.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      A fair whack of the overbuild isn’t using VHUB cabinets, Roger. That’s just a specific cabinet size that’s not necessary for the overbuild architecture. They can get what they need from smaller cabinets and often have to.

      The lack of overlap between Nexfibre and VMO2 makes sense because, for right now in practical purposes, Nexfibre are VMO2 in all but name.

      VMO2 are actually the ones building the Nexfibre network via subcontractors just FYI. The ownership is on paper different but the technical resources are Liberty Global.

      Regardless the man wasn’t asking anything about Nexfibre and VM overbuild but Liberty’s build strategy as far as actual competitors, not internal customers, go. Hard to divine as, if they could, they’d be bussing the contractors in blindfolded they’re so secretive.

      FWIW the Nexfibre areas so far are almost universally in very close proximity to VMO2 network so that VMO2 can use existing fibre to serve the premises passed by them.

      Anyone have any idea what Nexfibre actually sell wholesale? The regulator is apparently having a close look at them as they look an awful lot like an attempt to avoid the regulatory requirements that would come with VMO2 significantly expanding their coverage.

  3. Avatar photo Vikas says:

    Would VMO2 be deploying / upgrading their already FTTC services provided in Belfast? I am on a 1GBPS plan, but I can clearly see the difference in the connectivity vs Openreach’s more slower but FTTH/FTTP. Have they rolled out FTTH in Northern Ireland where theu originally had FTTC?

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