Half of Virgin Media O2's network is now gigabit broadband ready

Virgin Media O2
(Image credit: Virgin Media O2)

More than half of premises connected to Virgin Media O2’s fixed broadband network can now receive gigabit speeds as the company continues with plans to cover its entire footprint by the end of the year.

An additional 1.5 million properties in several towns and cities – including Bournemouth, Bristol, Northampton, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Wigan and York – have been upgraded and now have access to average download speeds of 1.1Gbps.

The company says the speeds will help customers who have become more reliant on their connection for work, education, and everyday life, and will support bandwidth-intensive services like video streaming, online gaming and videoconferencing.

Virgin Media O2

“We are upgrading the UK to next-generation connectivity and today we’re hitting another important milestone with more than half of our network now able to access gigabit speeds,” declared Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 CEO.

“As the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider today, with a clear plan to connect our entire network to these speeds by the end of the year, we’ll be delivering most of the Government’s broadband target ahead of schedule. Our continued investment is propelling the country up gigabit league tables and providing consumers with the connectivity they need both now and in future.”

All 15.5 million homes and premises connected to Virgin Media O2’s infrastructure be upgraded by the end of 2020. However, there are also plans to go even further.

By 2028, the entirety of the Virgin Media O2 network will be powered by Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology that could support ‘symmetrical’ upload and download speeds of 10Gbps.

The fact that its network is fully ducted means the installation of fibre should be simpler and more cost-effective than similar rollouts and the company is looking into potentially expanding its footprint should the opportunity arise.

Virgin Media O2 hopes the rollout will help establish itself as a genuine challenger to BT in both the wholesale and converged communications markets.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.