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Virgin Media and Nexfibre Add 20,000 Homes to FTTP in Milton Keynes

Thursday, Jul 11th, 2024 (10:03 am) - Score 1,560
virgin media o2 engineer at work over trench 2021

Network operator nexfibre, which shares some of their parentage with UK broadband ISP partner Virgin Media (O2), has announced that they’ve added 20,000 additional homes in the Buckinghamshire (England) town of Milton Keynes to the coverage of their new 2Gbps speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / XGS-PON) broadband network.

Until recently Virgin Media didn’t have much of any presence in Milton Keynes, which has been dominated by gigabit-capable rivals like Cityfibre and Openreach (not to mention some smaller deployments from Hyperoptic, OFNL and others). But you can now find Virgin and nexfibre’s new FTTP network running across much of the eastern edge of the town.

NOTE: Virgin Media is the only ISP on nexfibre’s network via an “exclusive partnership” (here). But more providers should be added in the future (here) and Virgin’s own network will open up to wholesale via NetCo in H1 2025 (here).

Nexfibre itself has already covered over 1 million premises across the UK with their new full fibre network, and they’re currently in the process of investing another £1bn during 2024, which should enable them to cover an additional 1 million UK premises (on top of their existing footprint).

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

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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
11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Gedfan says:

    Hello

    Does anyone know the rollout plan for virgin 2GB please? I get the usual ‘no idea’ from ‘customer service’. I’m DH8. Thank you.

    1. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      Use a dandelion clock. “This year, Next year, Sometime, Never”

  2. Avatar photo GG says:

    That’s nice for a city that already has a choice of about 25 full fibre providers …

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      According to the Think Broadband maps VMO2/NexFibre only really have a presence on the eastern side of the city. CityFibre has the most coverage followed by Openreach and bits and pieces of others.

  3. Avatar photo Chris says:

    I don’t see the logic. I live in one of these area in MK and currently have Openreach FTTP, I also have the option of CityFibre. Now I get to look out the window at a very ugly Matt grey Virgin Media / Nex Fibre cabinet which appeared about months ago.

    Does anywhere really need 3 fibre providers? Wouldn’t the money be better spent identifying areas with less competition and cabling these instead?

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      According to Neil McArthur (CEO Freedom Fibre) Ofcom are basically looking to have 3 national network choices to 85% of the country. Openreach will be one (obviously), Virgin will expand their network and he expects the most likely scenario is a large proportion of the various altnets will come together to form the third over the next few years.

    2. Avatar photo Alastair Stevens says:

      Amen – some of us, even in urban areas, are still in ‘fibre deserts’. I’m in the biggest one for 50 miles around, according to the ‘any FTTP’ coverage maps. We do have Virgin hybrid coax, but that’s still a closed monopoly network, not equivalent to proper FTTP with multi-provider options.

      Half of this city still has no fibre, while every other town in the county is covered, as is most of the countryside. Yet other towns have 3 separate networks to choose from? It’s mad.

    3. Avatar photo XGS says:

      CityFibre’s presence in about a third of the city strongly disincentivises others from building outside of Openreach and Nexfibre. They likely started with the easier third too. Most of the altnet overbuilding altnet stuff was either because of the earlier gold rush when money was cheap or where there were heavy sunk costs as preliminary work had been started with others simultaneously.

      Openreach seem to have build in progress there as well. Probably a bit late for another altnet to start anew.

      If CityFibre ever get around to finishing their Gloucester build Gloucester will have 3 options: VMO2/Nexfibre, Openreach and CityFibre, same as many other places. VMO2 plan on wholesaling their network next year so 3 wholesale networks.

    4. Avatar photo Sonic says:

      Yep – I’m in the same boat. Live in a city and yet the only broadband I can get is Openreach FTTC. No Virgin Media coax either. Giganet has excluded part of our postcode (one street) citing high costs. Only around 25% of properties can get full fibre in this city (10% OR, 16% alt-nets, probably Giganet). UK average is 68% now I think?

      The goal of 3 fibre providers is all well and good but surely the focus should be on getting at least 1 to everyone first?

      I just don’t get the Nexfibre strategy here. Why arrive late to a place that already has 3 other established providers? Especially when your network only supports one (not very popular) ISP? I’m baffled.

  4. Avatar photo Winston Smith says:

    Interesting to comapare the NexFibre new build announcements with CityFibre’s build completion (i.e. build stopped) announcements. CF will need a lot of aquisitions to get near 8 million premises passed.

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