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Virgin Media Connects 85,000 Premises, Adds 42,000 Broadband Customers

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Virgin Media says new builds are helping it attract more customers as £3bn Project Lightning network expansion continues

Virgin Media now has 4.8 million broadband subscribers in the UK, adding 42,000 new customers quarter-on-quarter.

It’s network now reaches 13 million premises, with 85,000 homes and businesses covered in the past three months, as the company continues with its ‘Project Lightning’ expansion programme.

It claims it’s on track to reach a combined 500,000 properties in 2016 having connected 250,000 last year. The rollout is targeting areas already served by BT Openreach but also rural areas and business parks.

Virgin Media network

packetfrontEventually the £3 billion project will expand Virgin’s footprint to 17 million by 2019, and the firm said new builds were already having an impact on the business.

“More homes and businesses than ever before are voting with their feet and moving to the better quality ultrafast broadband offered by Virgin Media,” declared Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge. “Customers are fed up with the slower broadband offered by providers operating over the ageing national telephone network.

“The proof is in the pudding.  In areas with Virgin Media, more customers moved to us during the quarter than BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone combined.”

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Virgin Media and its parent Liberty Global campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union (EU), donating £700,000 to the official campaign. It warned future network investments could be jeopardised by a Brexit, but Liberty says that for now, the decision to leave has not had a major impact on its UK business or the wider group.

“Fortunately, the debt on our balance sheet remains hedged against currency and interest rate exposures, while our average tenor currently stands at seven years,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. “As a side note, we have not seen a slowdown of demand in the U.K., sales are actually up year-over-year.”

Elsewhere, Virgin Media’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which runs on EE’s infrastructure, added 24,000 new customers, bringing to the total user base to three million.

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