Virgin Media O2 customers are set for a major broadband speed upgrade

Virgin Media O2
(Image credit: Virgin Media O2)

Every household in the UK connected to the Virgin Media broadband network can now receive speeds of 1.13Gbps following the completion of the company’s nationwide upgrade programme.

The process has taken around two years and ensures Virgin Media O2 is the country’s largest provider of gigabit broadband.

It 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 upgrade

The government has also welcomed the development as it targets 85% ultrafast coverage by 2025.

“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,” declared Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 chief executive.

“Having reached this major milestone in just two years, we’re doubling down on our mission to upgrade the UK by continuing to innovate and invest in our network to support the technologies of tomorrow – there’s no slowing down at Virgin Media O2.”

Virgin Media and O2 promised to invest £10 billion over the next five years across its business and further advances in mobile and broadband will form part of that commitment.

“We had a purpose when we combined as one company, and that was to upgrade the UK,” Virgin Media O2 chief operating officer told TechRadar Pro, adding that there was a technical roadmap in place for the next seven years for its cable, fibre, and mobile networks.

“We’re already trialling 2.2Gbps [broadband] and we’re going to upgrade our entire network to fibre to the premise (FTTP) by 2028. We also expect to have 50% outdoor 5G coverage by 2023.”

Virgin Media O2 has previously spoken of its intention to be a genuine converged challenger to BT-EE, capable of offering services that combine 5G and fibre for seamless connectivity.

Dodds added that the initial focus on convergence was on customer service rather than technology for technology’s sake at present, highlighting the success of the Volt converged product and the expansion of the Priority loyalty programme as examples.

While the future might include more technological use cases, Dodds said the focus on making its fixed line network as good as possible would make features such as the 4G/5G backup capabilities that rivals have introduced as redundant.

Of course, as the UK’s largest provider of gigabit broadband, Virgin Media O2’s network would be an attractive prospect for other operators that don’t own their own infrastructure. However, there are no immediate plans to open up the network on a wholesale basis just yet.

“Our shareholders have said there are future possibilities,” he said.

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.