Virgin Media pledges to upgrade its entire network to full fibre by 2028

Virgin Media O2
(Image credit: Virgin Media O2)

Virgin Media O2 has said it will roll out fill fibre across its entire cable network by 2028, strengthening its bid to become a genuine challenger to BT in both the wholesale and converged communications markets.

The newly-formed company’s fixed network currently reaches more than 15 homes using a combination of advanced cable and fibre to the premise (FTTP) technology. By the end of the year, every single home and business will be able to access speeds of at least 1Gbps.

However, Virgin Media O2 says it wants to go even further and maintain its speed leadership. By deploying fibre across the entirety of the footprint by 2028, it believes that symmetrical download and upload speeds of 10Gbps will be possible.

Virgin Media O2

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.

Upgrades and expansion would help create an attractive option for third party providers that currently take wholesale services from Openreach, the current market leader.

The announcement accompanied Virgin Media O2’s first results since merging last month. It added 36,000 broadband subscribers during the period, alongside 64,000 net mobile contract subscribers.

Overall, the company has 5.7 million fixed line customers and 24 million mobile customers. When 7.3 million IoT connections and 9.6 million customers from Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile are taken into account, there are 40 million users on the O2 network.

Two fifths of broadband customers also take out a mobile service with Virgin Media O2, a figure which the firm believes demonstrates the growing appetite for convergence.

“Virgin Media O2 is off to a flying start,” declared Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media O2 CEO. “. We’ve maintained the strong momentum of recent quarters and are one of the largest and fastest growing converged providers. Our mission is to upgrade the UK, and we are doing exactly that. Today we’ve announced a major new fibre upgrade programme which will see us begin the next evolution of our network, building on the investment, firepower and leadership we already have and ensuring we’re fibre fit for the future.

“In 60 days, we have achieved a lot, but this is just the beginning. With strong foundations for growth in place, we will boost connectivity, provide greater choice and be a challenger the country can count on.”

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.