Virgin Media O2 Completes Gigabit Network Upgrade

Virgin Media O2 has said that its customers can now access gigabit speeds, after it completed a major speed upgrade of its cable network.

The operator announced that gigabit speeds are now available across it’s entire network, offering average download speeds of 1,130Mbps, which 22 times faster than the national average of 54 Mbps.

It should be noted Virgin Media’s network covers roughly 53 percent of UK homes, as its network reach tends to be centred around towns and cities, and not in more rural locations or villages.

Gigabit upgrade

Until recently Virgin Media O2 customers could access ultrafast speeds of up to 630Mbps thanks to the operator’s combination of its Fibre Coax and FTTP networks.

But now Virgin Media says it is the largest provider of gigabit broadband, after it spent two years upgrading its network to the D3.1 standard to increase speeds.

It is also carrying out real-world trials to deliver speeds of 2.2Gbps to homes using its existing network and technology.

Virgin Media’s O2 speedy two year upgrade process is in marked contrast to BT and Openreach, which over the past decade has had to carry out extensive civil works (digging up roads etc) to upgrade the UK’s legacy copper-based network to a full fibre offering, which covers almost all of the UK.

Virgin Media O2 took the opportunity to say it is the only major provider to have completed a full gigabit upgrade, delivering nearly two-thirds of the Government’s broadband target four years early.

Digital infrastructure

The operator said that it had completed its rollout after switching on gigabit speeds to a final 1.1 million homes for the first time, meaning all 15.5 million homes passed by Virgin Media O2’s network can now access this ultra-fast connectivity.

“Just two years ago we set out to spearhead the UK’s gigabit revolution and today we’ve delivered,” said Lutz Schüler, CEO at Virgin Media O2. “Our investment to bring gigabit broadband to every home on our network has catapulted the UK’s digital infrastructure forward by a decade and forced others to up their game.”

“As the country’s largest gigabit provider by far, we’re the driving force behind widespread gigabit availability four years ahead of the Government’s target,” said Schüler.

And the UK government welcomed Virgin Media’s milestone achievement.

“Getting high speed broadband into everyone’s homes is a top priority and Virgin Media O2’s efforts mean we’re making quick progress in our mission to level up the UK with better connectivity,” noted Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries.

“We must ensure that rural areas are not left behind, which is why alongside industry’s roll out we’re investing up to £5 billion to make top-of-the-range speeds available in hard-to-reach communities,” said Dorries.

It should be remembered that the British government in December 2019 had pledged to roll out gigabit-speed broadband to every home in Britain by 2025.

Virgin Media O2’s Gig1 broadband is available to new and existing customers and can be packaged with or without telephone, TV and mobile services.

Prices start from just £62 per month on an 18 month contract.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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