Virgin Media announces “largest” UK FTTP rollout ever


news Virgin Media has committed to what it called the “largest UK fibre broadband rollout”, that will bring fibre optic services directly to domestic and business premises.

In a statement, the broadband provider said it will connect fibre to the premises (FTTP) to “at least a quarter” of the 4 million additional homes and businesses being added to the Virgin Media network as part of an expansion it calls “Project Lightning”.

Fibre to the Premises is the model which Labor initiated for Australia’s own National Broadband Network, although the Coalition has since changed the model to a “Multi-Technology Mix” featuring Fibre to the Node and HFC cable. Virgin Media is best known as a HFC cable operator in the UK, but has since expanded into providing FTTP services, in the opposite approach to that being taken in Australia under the Coalition’s version of the NBN.

Virgin Media also said it will give 17 million premises access to its network by 2019 – a date that has been pulled back from a previous estimate of 2020.

“This is the single largest investment in the UK’s broadband infrastructure in more than a decade,” the firm said.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO, commented: “Our £3bn investment to bring ultrafast connectivity to more parts of the UK is not just about better broadband, it’s about future-proofing the country’s network infrastructure with the best and most modern technology.”

“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network – delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds,” he added.

Communications watchdog Ofcom recently reported that the UK has the lowest proportion of fibre connections running directly to homes and businesses of any OECD nation.

“The plans unveiled by Virgin Media today are a significant boost to the UK’s ambitions to become a ‘fibre nation’. As a result, Virgin Media becomes the UK’s largest wholly fibre broadband network in the UK,” said the company in its statement.

Virgin Media’s UK network offers broadband speeds of up to 200Mbps for consumers and 300Mbps for businesses – most commonly via its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network, which combines optical fibre to the street cabinet and coaxial cable to the premises.

However, Virgin Media has now pledged to bring FTTP to “at least one in four properties” in its Project Lightning expansion.

The company has already started to roll out FTTP in parts of the UK, such as Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, with work expected to commence soon in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex.

Virgin said that by using new engineering techniques such as ‘narrow trenching’, FTTP can be deployed “at lower cost and more quickly” in high-demand areas.

Additionally, the company said it expects that Project Lightning bring about the creation of 6,000 new jobs, including 1,000 new apprentices.

“Backing firms that grow and create jobs is a key part of our plan to boost productivity and deliver economic security for working people,” said the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.


  1. Didn’t Turnbull tell them it’s cheaper to buy the exisiting copper from BT and upgrade it

  2. Rest of the world goes to FTTP while we continue to roll out technology on rubbish copper.

    • Indeed, just another HFC owner building FTTP because they know it got a better TCO and is cheaply and easily upgrade … unlike their copper.

  3. Ironically “high-demand” areas in Australia would’ve seen such upgrades completed years ago if not for Conroy’s NBN fantasy killing private sector investment and his explicit spectrum threats.

    Network buildout utilising fibre is sensible (new infrastructure), however once project finished still less than a third of its customers. Meanwhile their upgraded HFC has been delivering high-speed Internet to millions for years for a relatively small spend.

    We could discuss similarly successful HFC upgrades internationally but alas harmful to the discussion.

    • Lol Richard
      Great joke there where where those $B investments like that 12page report for the FTTN tender.

      Lol Millions on HFC isn’t there only 900,000 on HFC ATM. Now numbers man doesn’t Millions(s) mean more than 1 as it doesn’t even hit 1 million. But like you said the NBN must be wasting money on upgrading HFC since it already according to you meet the requirements.

      Yes we could Richard but it would be pointless as they would be delivers speeds we don’t need.

    • “Australia would’ve seen such upgrades completed years ago if not for Conroy’s NBN fantasy killing private sector investment…”

      What a load of utter bullshit.

      • In Richards deluded universe the years of inaction by Telstra years before the NBN was even proposed is all because of the NBN.

        • Yes, but that’s what you get from bitter old IT deadwood that spends it’s days playing solitaire. I just know he still favours SCSI drives for his work PCs over this new fangled IDE…

    • Prove it.

      Cause there is a wealth of evidence that private industry wouldn’t come to the table on this stuff. From Howard years on and on.

    • Richard.

      Perhaps if you were to put that odd L(l)ibertarian ego mixed with ultra conservative partiality aside, even for a few seconds, you may just be able to see what actually occurred…

      I’ll tell you my opinion based on actuality, not based on some dumb cult/ideology, which some people seem to wrongly believe makes them superior, *sigh*… “once again”.

      You will note rather than some completely misguided, ideological conjecture of, markets would have delivered , I will demonstrate why markets refused to deliver and why subsequently the government needed to step in as governments do when, “markets fail” – you’d recall market failures eh Richard?

      Firstly, let me say, I am referring to fixed here. Of course where the incumbent didn’t have the monopoly (mobile) there is fervent, healthy market driven competition. Big difference… anyhoo…

      a) I bring to your attention, the HFC war of the 1990’s. Optus decided to roll out HFC where Telstra didn’t have HFC (yes they were, gasp, trying to deliver). Of course Telstra saw that as a threat to their complete monopolistic hold over Australia’s comms and decided to follow Optus’ and duplicate infrastructure in the same areas, rather than actually delivering elsewhere where needed. This lead to write downs of some $1B for Telstra and $1B+ for Optus. All for Telstra to kill off the competition. Money well spent apparently…

      Yes, one could say it was simply good old competition. Or one could say, it was the gorilla ensuring it remained the gorilla at our expense. And I think “actual history” has shown which is the accurate description.

      b) Telstra (circa mid 00’s) refusing to switch on ADSL2 for Australians even though it was ready to go… keep in mind just as a comparison, while we were eagerly awaiting ADLS2, Japan had already been rolling out FTTH since 1999…

      The odd part was, Sol (being a supposed mover and shaker in the GOP) was at war with his own, the Howard government, and it wasn’t until Rudd/Conroy came to power (iirc) that ADSL2 was agreed to be switched on. Strange bedfellows eh?

      c) The Telstra will roll out FTTN furphy (again circa mid 00’s). But no… Telstra withdrew from negotiations with the ACCC. Of course people have claimed they withdrew simply because they couldn’t get the needed agreement regarding ROI or access. But Graeme Samuel released a statement saying he was perplexed that Telstra would just withdraw from negotiations at the “11th hour” when all that was required was some final tweaking to keep both parties happy and it would have been done an dusted.

      A clear sign that it was all a smokescreen to simply prolong the multi $B copper profits, sans any improvement/investment.

      d) Then G9/Terria, who were to be our saviours. They said they would invest in FttN, but of course Telstra owning the copper showed how ridiculous and naive this mobs claims were.

      e) Which brings us to the RFP to build a NBN. G9/Terria, still sabre rattling, Telstra still being the gorilla and a few other’s left of field who threw their hats into the ring.

      Of course the RFP was designed by Conroy to look transparent but it was for all intents and purposes, Telstra’s for the taking… BUT Telstra intentionally submitted a non-compliant bid and history shows G9/Terria didn’t even fucking bid… FFS. They just said oh, umm, we’re with them and tagged along with Optus… *sigh*.

      Another clear sign that it was all a smokescreen for them all, to simply prolong the multi $B copper profits, sans any improvement/investment.

      f) So we were back to square one… the status quo… a place the incumbent Telstra IMO, wanted to remain (they had two chances to prove otherwise and refused to invest) and a place the access seekers also wanted to remain (they could have submitted a bid, but refused)…

      So Mr numbers 1 + 1 = ?

      It is apparent that the incumbent was happy enough to stagnate investment keep wringing the copper profits and the access seekers were just as happy to not have to invest and keep accessing and slightly under-cutting the incumbent (wholesaler/retailer), to make out they were the good guys.

      In the end even with the shemozzle all of the court battles, fines, etc in relation to the incumbent/accessors… I believe behind closed doors they were all back-slapping, with the accessors wanting Telstra to keep retail prices high, which meant they could do so also.

      The situation was archaic and it was kept archaic by “greedy private enterprise not wanting improvement, but wanting to keep their snouts in the greed trough”.

      Thankfully the NBN was born.

      Sadly fucking mindless political pawns and continual corporate greed, to thwart FTTP for all Aussies, fucked it up and here we are left with FRAUDBAND, tens of $B’s over the promised fully coasted $29.B and some 4 years behind schedule…

    • @Richard…”Ironically “high-demand” areas in Australia would’ve seen such upgrades…”

      That was a dream you were having Richard, it didn’t actually happen. You should learn to separate them from reality or you will have problems.

  4. I am using BT at the moment. If virgin was availableto me I would switch, only for one reason. virgin do not make you have a fixed phone line you do not want I pay 17.95 a month for a phone line I don’t want or need.

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