Virgin Media O2 rural network rollout passes 50 sites

rural areas
(Image credit:

Virgin Media O2 has now delivered 4G connectivity across 50 sites in the UK, the company has announced.

By doing so, residents, businesses, and visitors, in different rural communities across the country, will benefit from a faster, and more reliable mobile coverage as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) program.

SRN is a £1 billion joint initiative, run by mobile network operators in the UK, and the UK Government. The goal is to cover at least 95% of the country’s landmass with 4G connectivity by the end of 2025. 

Remote parts of Scotland

Now, with 50 rural sites covered, almost 2,200 square kilometers of space can now benefit from the advantages of 4G, Virgin Media O2 says. The 50th site to be upgraded is Helmsdale, a village in the Scottish Highlands. Of the 50 sites, 39 are in remote parts of Scotland – including 10 in the Argyll and Bute region. The remaining 11 are in eastern parts of England, including rural parts of Yorkshire, Suffolk and Kent, Virgin Media O2 said.

The upgrades have delivered faster and more reliable data speeds and higher quality voice calls in areas with previously patchy or slow services, it said.

While a significant milestone, the company doesn’t seem to be resting on its laurels. Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said the company will continue expanding the 4G infrastructure.

“Boosting connectivity at 50 sites is a real milestone and means more residents, businesses and tourists in rural areas can benefit from better mobile coverage,” York said. “In the weeks and months ahead we’ll continue pushing forward with our rural investments, building new masts and upgrading existing ones across various remote UK locations as we work to tackle the urban-rural digital divide.”

The company has "secured planning consent" for another 100 sites, it said.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.