Virgin Media connects another million UK premises to gigabit broadband

(Image credit: Virgin Media)

Virgin Media has switched on gigabit speeds for another one million homes in the UK, claiming it is now the country’s biggest ultrafast broadband provider.

Residences in Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford are the latest to be added to the gigabit network, joining Southampton, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. This amounts to 3.6 million properties, or one quarter of Virgin Media’s footprint.

The firm plans to make its entire network gigabit-capable by the end of 2021, arguing that the Coronavirus pandemic has provided further evidence for the need to futureproof its infrastructure.

Virgin Media gigabit

It says that households have consumed an additional 325GB of data during the first ten weeks of lockdown alone

“We’re proudly leading the charge to make the UK faster by offering our gigabit connectivity to more homes than any other provider,” declared Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media CEO.

“Providing next-generation connectivity across the country is a mission that is increasingly important as the role of our services to everyday lives and the economy has never been clearer. We’ll be connecting more cities to our gigabit network this year at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else.”

Virgin Media is one of several broadband providers investing in ultrafast broadband. Openreach plans to connect 4 million properties to full fibre by March 2021 and up to 20 million by the end of the decade. Meanwhile ‘alt net’ providers like CityFibre, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic are also rolling out fibre to the premise (FTTP) networks.

Earlier this year parent company Liberty Global agreed to merge Virgin Media with Telefonica's O2 in a £31 billion deal that will create a converged communications giant in the UK. 

Revenues at Virgin Media fell by 3.5 per cent in Q2, with Schuler admitted that Covid-19 ensured it was a quarter that the company would “never forget. The fall could be in part attributed to customers pausing sports subscriptions and a decline in mobile revenues as people spent more time at home using their Wi-Fi connection.

The company has six million customers, of which 59 per cent subscribe to three different services. The firm has 3.37 million mobile customers, an increase of 7 per cent year-on-year.

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.