Virgin embarks on huge extension of UK fibre network

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 13 February 2015

Assisted by its corporate parent Liberty Global, UK cableco Virgin Media is embarking on what it claims is the UK's single largest investment in broadband digital infrastructure for more than a decade.

VM-EastLondon 20190Virgin believes that there is a huge need to make the upgrade and offer added bandwidth. It calculates that three-fifths of its customers now have at least three devices connected to their home broadband, up from 37% a year ago. Data usage on the Virgin Media cable network is currently growing at a rate of around 60% every year which, if this trend continues, will be 10,000% higher in ten years.

The so-called Project Lightning will see Virgin extend its fibre-rich network to approximately four million additional premises over the next five years. This will increase the number of homes and businesses to which Virgin Media can offer services by almost a third; from around half of the country today to nearly 17 million premises by 2020.

"Millions of homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit for the first time from broadband speeds at least twice as fast as those available from the other major providers," said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media chief executive officer. "Consumers and business owners who want to make the switch to better broadband speeds now have an alternative."

Mike Fries, Liberty Global CEO, added: "Our next-generation fibre-rich networks reach 50 million households across Europe, enabling our customers to discover and experience the endless possibilities of the digital world. After a record operating performance, Project Lightning is a significant investment that demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Media and the UK as a place to do business."