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Nexfibre Confirm £1bn in 2024 for UK FTTP Broadband Rollout

Friday, Feb 16th, 2024 (4:30 pm) - Score 5,200
Fibre-optic-cable-by-Copilot-AI-15022024

Nexfibre, which shares the same parentage as Virgin Media (VMO2), has this afternoon confirmed that they will invest £1bn next year to expand their 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / XGS-PON) broadband ISP network to an additional 1 million UK premises (on top of their existing coverage).

Just to recap. Telefónica, Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital Partners setup a new £4.5bn joint venture called nexfibre in 2022 (here), which aims to deploy an open access full fibre (FTTP) network to reach “up to” 7 million UK homes (starting with 5m by 2026) in areas NOT served by Virgin Media’s own network of 16m+ premises. The funding reflects £3.3bn of fully underwritten financing and up to £1.4bn in equity commitments.

NOTE: Virgin Media is currently the only ISP on the new network via an “exclusive partnership” (here), although they do plan to add more ISPs via wholesale in the near future (here).

So far the operator has already deployed their network to cover around 830,000 premises (Dec 2023) and, at their present rollout rate, they’re expecting to pass 1 million premises before the end of spring 2024. The figures are due to be boosted by 175,000 FTTP premises acquired from Upp (here), which are still in the process of being integrated and so haven’t yet been included into their network total.

As revealed earlier this week, nexfibre is currently set to “build more than any fibre network provider in the UK this year … other than [Openreach]” (here). The operator is also keeping their eyes open for further acquisitions (M&A), although their main focus is still on primary build.

Rajiv Datta, CEO of nexfibre, said:

“The £1billion we are investing this year will be a major boost to the UK’s digital infrastructure. Backed by our world-class investors, we are bringing much-needed sustainable competition and next generation connectivity to the UK.

Our focus is on addressing the historical lack of investment that has left the UK lagging behind its European counterparts, and providing a platform for progress and innovation to deliver lasting value to the communities we serve, and the wider economy.”

One small, but easily overlooked, statement in the footnotes of today’s announcement is this: “nexfibre and Virgin Media O2 intend to wholesale their networks to other third-party internet service providers creating the UK’s first national-scale challenger to Openreach, boosting choice and competition in the market.” But we won’t expand on that because it’s being covered in another article that we published earlier today (here).

Finally, I’d like to apologise for all the VMO2 and nexfibre news today. ISPreview normally tries to keep these things to a single article, but in this case both operators put out staggered and sometimes embargoed press releases at different times, which made writing about all the developments a lot more tedious than usual.

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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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Comments
28 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Alex A says:

    “Finally, I’d like to apologise for all the VMO2 and nexfibre news today. ISPreview normally tries to keep these things to a single article, but in this case both operators put out staggered and sometimes embargoed press releases at different times, which made writing about all the developments a lot more tedious than usual.”

    Thank you for the wonderful reporting Mark! A lot of interesting news today.

    1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      Also interesting that they’ve chosen to release a plethora of really heavyweight news at the same time. From a corporate point of view it’s all upbeat growth and progress stuff, to the extent it makes me wonder what they’re planning. Is there some huge debt refinancing in the pipeline? A carve out from one or all of the investing parties behind VMO2 and Nexfibre?

    2. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      It’s partly because they’re functionally different companies and so don’t directly co-ordinate, yet share a similar parentage and results timeline. So you get a bit of a criss-cross in press release terms.

  2. Avatar photo Fibre Scriber says:

    @ Mark: Is this 1 billion next as well, (2025)

  3. Avatar photo John says:

    “Our focus is on addressing the historical lack of investment that has left the UK lagging behind”

    …by investing exactly where other companies have already rolled out so we can overbuild them! Half of their build is overbuild

  4. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    This nextfibre rollout is the most confusing of them all. So are they just Virgin with a new name? What happened for Virgins build in Newcastle. In 2004 they built up to the main road about 250m away from my estate. missed out my entire estate and just picked back up up 50m at the otherside in all 3 directions. So when it says where Virgin didn’t build originally. Do they mean all the parts Virgin missed out on the first build so they will be coming to do my estate. or do they mean whole cities Virgin didn’t do originally?

    1. Avatar photo Kris says:

      Have a look at Blyth on the thinkbroadband maps.

      The northern part of the town has traditional VM using RFoG (ie fibre and then a bit of coax). The rest of the town was built via Nexfibre and so has proper FTTP. To my knowledge there wasn’t a big pause in the was just mid build during all the changes in VMs expansion. Bedlington was just before and was one of the last VM rollouts.

      If your area is really small, I’d expect any expansion to come when the current area is swapped to pure FTTP.

  5. Avatar photo Nick says:

    The CEO the other day in the video said that Nexfibre will be avoiding situations from the past about infrastructure being on one side of the road and not the other.

    I hope that’s true as Virgin have been shocking in that regard with some areas, which only creates frustration from the consumers point of view. Time will tell however…

    1. Avatar photo Kris says:

      In our area are having Nexfibre rollout and I’ve been really surprised how great the coverage is.

      As an example our town has some small brownfield builds of 5-6 houses among existing 100 year old houses. The old houses are all served by openreach poles which now have Nexfibre equipment on. The new builds have had a dedicated dig to install toby’s next to each property. It would have been super easy to skip these.

  6. Avatar photo GG says:

    They’ve started the conversion from Virgin around here, to the extent of actually wiring a (as in one) of the OR poles on our street to the new kit.
    If they pulled their finger out they’d clean up given there’s no sign of OR and F&W seem to have vapourised.

  7. Avatar photo FibreBubble says:

    InfraVia left holding the baby.

  8. Avatar photo Alastair says:

    Had an interesting experience with nexfibre trying to get my mum a 21st century internet connection at her exchange only openreach notspot. Virgin and Digital Infrastructure were both fiddling with the poles on her street, and Virgin got it up and running first so she signed up with them. Day before the install they sent her a text message asking her to ring them, and then got a recorded message saying there was a problem with her install and it was cancelled. After ringing round and eventually getting a human being, nexfibre had allocated her property to a pole where line of sight was blocked by a neighbour’s tree. Trying to point out that her phone line came from the other pole, equidistant from the house and with a clear line of sight, just resulted in shrugs from the engineers who said that someone higher up assigns properties to poles and they couldn’t do anything about it.

    Fortunately a couple of weeks later DI activated her street and we got her set up on IDnet via FullFibre/Fibre Heroes, so in the long run that’s a bullet dodged with VM customer service.

  9. Avatar photo Jack says:

    I am confident that Nexfibre won’t come to my address. Virgin didn’t bother, and Openreach seem to have passed it up for now and moved on. My only hope is CityFibre, who have dug and laid cable in June last year. They need to switch it on though…

    1. Avatar photo Sonic says:

      We have the exact situation in Winchester. Virgin Media will not roll out to certain properties (if they are even a tiny bit more “difficult” to get to). We are in theory a Virgin Media enabled city but the truth is that they only cover about 54% of properties.

      No chance that Nexfibre will be coming in to infill the properties not covered by VM coax. No Openreach either so all hope lies with Giganet.

      It’s all well and good having lofty goals but the sad truth is that the same cities and towns that get ignored by everyone else (Cityfibre, Netomnia, OR, Toob, Trooli etc.) will get ignored by these guys too.

  10. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    So Nextfibre belongs to Virgin then?

    I can’t see them coming here, with Zzoomm and openreach building around the city a third one would make no sense. I am fine with Zzoomm, the service is good now.

    1. Avatar photo Nexfibre says:

      No, Virgin Media o2 has the same owners as Nexfibre.
      Virgin don’t own Nexfibre
      And you will be delighted to hear that Zzoom are solidly on the list of Altnets for Nexfibre to try and acquire.

    2. Avatar photo MK Reporter says:

      Yet here in Milton Keynes, they are building after Openreach and then Cityfibre ran fibre

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Nexfibre or who ever you are, someone who don’t keep the same username as they are a coward.
      We will see what happens in the future, I doubt they will take over Zzoomm, it is not big enough.
      But if they do, we will cross that bridge when/if it happens. I will carry on using the service as it is until then.

    4. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Upp were 175,000 premises passed when they were acquired.

    5. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      Gonna be bizarre watching the consolidation as it happens.

      With all the overlap there won’t be any value in being the last one to sell out.

      The best value is being bought out whilst you’re the sole network in an area, before any overlap exists.

      Anything else has little to no value.

    6. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      ^from perspective of being investor in an altnet

    7. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @XGS, as I said we will cross that bridge if it ever happens. No doubt at some point someone will buy Zzoomm, but if Virgin gets too large i expect it will be stopped, can’t have a telecoms company larger than BT, that would never be allowed.

  11. Avatar photo Gavin says:

    £1 billion for 1 million additional connections seems expensive.

    Does nexfibre go underground or overground?

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Or wombling free?

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      £1000 per premises passed sounds about on par with CityFibre spend. You would hope mainly underground for that.

    3. Avatar photo ISP User says:

      £1k for FTTH is expensive whichever way you slice it. I expect this is overall funding (cost for building as well as corporate costs). In these sorts off announcements they will try to make the figure sound big then when it comes to cost for build in results it will be a smaller infrastructure + labour to delivery figure.

      That said NexFibre (VM outside VM) will encounter a higher build cost if they choose to deliver all of a small town with more dig required and increased interest rates…etc

    4. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      @Gavin: nexfibre is doing both, digging to install its ducts and using Openreach’s ducts and poles.

  12. Avatar photo Disappointed says:

    Hi Mark, apologies if already covered and I missed but have you covered the news that NexFibre have scrapped their plans for future expansion in Northern Ireland?

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