Virgin Media nears 100% gigabit target as it rolls out electric vehicles

Virgin Media O2
(Image credit: Virgin Media O2)

Virgin Media O2 has almost completed the rollout of gigabit broadband across its entire cable network and has revealed the first electric vehicles (EVs) to be deployed across its fleet.

Another 1.6 million properties, located across Lincoln, Bath, Lancaster, Fife, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Slough, Salisbury, can now access the company’s fastest speeds of 1.13Gbps, bringing the total number to 14.3 million.

This means the firm has now covered 14.3 million homes and businesses and is on track to reach its target of 15.5 million by the end of 2021.

Virgin Media O2 

Virgin Media O2 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.

“We’re making great strides ahead in upgrading the UK and are within touching distance of bringing the benefits of future-proof gigabit broadband to everyone on our network,” said Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 CEO.

“With our gigabit rollout progressing at an unmatched pace, we’re building the next-generation broadband network that’s ready for the technology of tomorrow.”

The company has also ordered 280 new Vauxhall e-Vivaros to help engineers carry out installations and services, with a view to making its entire fleet of 4,300 vehicles electric by 2030. Engineers who receive an EV will have an electric charging point installed at their homes, while the company already offers such facilities at its Hammersmith, Reading and Slough offices.

“With a fleet of 4,300 vehicles visiting millions of homes and businesses every year, we have a responsibility to swap to cleaner, more sustainable alternatives as soon as possible,” declared Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Virgin Media O2.

“I’m proud that we’re introducing the first EVs to our fleet, and giving our valued field engineers access to the charge points they need to keep moving.”

Virgin Media O2 is also a participant in the 5G Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) testbed and has a joint-venture called Liberty Charge which will use its cable infrastructure and expertise to support the deployment of charging points.  

“The only way to encourage businesses and the public to make the switch to EVs in time for the UK’s 2050 net zero target is by making vehicle charging points widely available and accessible to all,” added Herald. “We’re eagerly anticipating the Government’s EV strategy and plans for wider infrastructure rollout, and together with Liberty Charge, we’re committed to using our expanding national network and street furniture to help put charging points where they need to be – and drive the UK towards net zero.”

Openreach is also migrating to electric. So far it has deployed 620 EVs and plans to make its 28,000 strong fleet 'zero emission' by 2030. 

Want a fibre boost? Here are the best Virgin Media O2 broadband deals. 

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.