Virgin Media Expands Network To 100,000 More Premises In East London

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 starts biggest ever expansion of its cable network as it announces Q2 results

Virgin Media is to embark on the single largest expansion of its cable network since it was formed by the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2007, by adding more than 100,000 homes across East London, offering superfast broadband speeds of 152Mbps.

Work has already started on adding Bethnal Green, the Isle of Dogs, Newham and West Ham to the network, with digging in Stratford, Poplar, Stepney, Bow and East Ham set to commence soon.

The Liberty Global-owned firm’s cable footprint increased to 12,539,700 premises during the second quarter of 2014, and CEO Tim Mockeridge says East London represents a major opportunity for the company.

Virgin Media London

“Extending our network into East London means 100,000 more homes will benefit from the UK’s fastest most widely available broadband for the first time,” he says. “This is a significant investment for Virgin Media and our largest, single network expansion project to date. We are very proud to be supercharging East London, helping thousands of people make the most of the UK’s exciting digital future.”

Virgin Media Double Your Speed campaign, shot in Kingston Jamaica with Usain Bolt and Richard Branson 26+27/11/11 photographed by Tom OldhamThe move has also been welcomed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who has made improved Internet connectivity a pillar of his Infrastructure Plan for London, particularly in areas like London’s Tech City.

“London is earning a reputation for being the Tech capital of Europe and that is why we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access superfast broadband services,” adds the Mayor. “It has become a utility that every Londoner expects and this latest expansion is a further welcome step towards making that aim a reality.”

Virgin Media says its latest expansion forms part of a wider commitment to London, with its cable network now covering half of all homes in the capital. It also operates the London Underground Wi-Fi network, public wireless services in Hackney and the London Public Services Network.

Q2 results

Now that the firm is owned by Liberty Global, Virgin Media only publishes selected performance indicators, but it did reveal that revenues rose by £27.7 million during Q2 to £1.054 billion.

The company now has 4.4 million broadband customers, of which 47 percent take 50Mbps broadband or faster, with 40 percent choosing to go above 100Mbps. The company lost 14,900 TV customers overall during the three months leading up to 30 June, but it did add 137,800 new and existing subscribers to its premium TiVo service.

During the period, Virgin Media secured new carriage deals with Sky for its TV channels and launched a range of new quad-play bundles. Two thirds of Virgin subscribers take three services from the firm (broadband, TV and landline), but 16.7 percent also have a mobile contract with Virgin Mobile, up from 16.1 percent. Overall, the company’s mobile network has more than two million mobile users.

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