Virgin Media will connect 4m properties to its cable network by 2019 – half of which will now be FTTP broadband
Virgin Media will connect two million properties to fibre to the premise (FTTP) as part of its £3 billion ‘Project Lightning’ network expansion – double the original target.
Project Lightning is targeting four million properties in total, meaning half will have access to FTTP. It is expected the expansion will expand Virgin Media’s footprint to 17 million by 2019, with up to half a million added this year alone.
Virgin says the added FTTP won’t increase the £3 billion cost of the expansion because it was concluded narrowtrenching technology made it more cost effective to deploy FTTP on a wider scale than a smaller one.
Virgin Media FTTP
According to the company’s third quarter results, 95,000 home and businesses were added over the past three months and the cable network footprint now stands at 14 million premises – up from 13.6 million this time last year.
Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, who recently called for more fibre to be deployed in the UK, has welcomed the news.
“Virgin Media’s investment in fibre to the home is exactly the kind of thing we want to see industry delivering across the UK,” he said. “This technology is key to providing the internet experience, in terms of both speed and reliability, that families and businesses will need in future. Initiatives like ‘Project Lightning’ will be instrumental in making sure Britain has the right connectivity for decades to come.”
The company now has 5.23 million broadband subscribers across the UK and Ireland, up from five million year on year, and nearly two thirds have three services from the company. A fifth have both fixed and mobile contracts with Virgin Media, and the firm has just acquired Arqiva’s Wi-Fi business.
The 31,000 hotspots, along with a new router that can act as a public hotspot, could form the basis of a nationwide Wi-Fi network that could not only provide wireless services but offload mobile traffic.