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Virgin Media UK Sees Slowdown - Tops 3.98m Broadband ISP Subscribers

Posted: 06th Aug, 2009 By: MarkJ
Cable giant Virgin Media UK has reported its latest second quarter 2009 results, which show that the operator suffered a significant slowdown in broadband growth. Total broadband subscribers increased from 3,977,100 in Q1-2009 to just 3,980,900 now, which contrasts with much stronger net adds of +47,300 in the previous quarter.

The above figure also includes 245,700 Virgin National (Virgin.net ADSL) broadband subscribers, which continued its slow decline from 247,000 in Q1. Virgin Media will no doubt be hoping for an improvement, especially following recent speed enhancements and other developments (here).

Neil Berkett, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media, said:

"I am pleased to report strong consumer on-net revenue growth and record ARPU during another quarter of solid financial performance. Our strong free cash flow is underpinned by good cost control and a high quality customer base. This reflects the success we have had in delivering and monetizing a compelling and highly competitive consumer proposition which exploits our strengths in broadband and video-on-demand. The growth outlook for the second half of the year remains strong.

We have now reached a landmark milestone with the completion of our next generation network, which successfully demonstrates our drive to redefine the high-speed broadband market in the UK. More than 12 million homes now have access to 50Mb broadband, the fastest commercially available product in the UK, and we continue to innovate with our customer pilot of 200Mb."

Virgin Media blames the slower growth on seasonally higher churn driven by students, some nonsensical "soft macroeconomic environment" issues and a shift in focus towards growth in higher speed (and higher ARPU) customers. They expect Q3-2009 to be a stronger month for broadband growth.

The number of subscribers on VM's top two broadband tiers (20Mb and 50Mb) has increased by 37% to 454,400 in the last twelve months. At the quarter-end, 47% of VM's broadband customers subscribed to a 10Mb tier or higher. This has also resulted in a 47% increase in aggregate headline speed of Virgin's customer base in the last twelve months to 26.358Mbps.
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