Carla Lockhart MP has visited Virgin Media O2’s network expansion site in Banbridge, where the business’s first recycled aggregate trial in Northern Ireland is underway.


Left to right – Seamus McCorry, Paul Hughes, Carla Lockhart MP and Julia Preston

As part of the visit, the Upper Bann MP had the chance to speak to members of Virgin Media O2’s team about the trial, where the company with partner EJC is using recycled stone and sand when reinstating the ground after laying fibre cables – instead of new materials sourced from quarries – making it one of the company’s most sustainable expansion builds ever.

The business hopes that the carbon cutting trial will pave the way for more expansive use of recycled materials in Northern Ireland. Last year, Virgin Media O2 undertook a similar trial in Glasgow and has plans to use recycled aggregate more widely in Scotland in 2022, thanks to its success.

With more than 100,000 tonnes of aggregate used each year by Virgin Media O2’s Project Lightning network expansion programme, switching to recycled aggregate could save more than 450 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

In addition to the trial, Carla Lockhart was also updated on wider network expansion works taking place across the local area, including Banbridge, Laurelvale and Tandragee, to bring gigabit broadband service – with average top speeds of 1,130Mbps – to tens of thousands of additional people.

Seamus McCorry, Northern Ireland Regional Director at Virgin Media O2, said: “At Virgin Media O2, we’re not only committed to bringing next-generation services to more people through our network expansion, but also, constantly evolving our approach to doing business to make the positive steps needed in the fight against climate change.

“Our latest build in Northern Ireland delivers on just that, and it’s great to have the opportunity to meet with Carla and showcase what this means for the residents here in her constituency.”

Carla Lockhart, MP for Upper Bann, said: “I am delighted that Virgin Media O2 continue to expand their network locally. Fast, reliable broadband is a must now for so many households, to help with work from home, learning, streaming TV services and gaming.

“That Virgin Media O2 are using recycled stone and sand when reinstating the ground after installations is a really good example of how major infrastructure can be delivered mindful of environmental impact.”

Last week, Virgin Media O2 launched their first sustainability strategy as a joint business, outlining its bold commitments to cut carbon, champion circularity, and support communities as it upgrades the UK. The business has aims to achieve net zero carbon across its operations, products and supply chain by the end of 2040, and will use its gigabit broadband and 5G mobile networks to power next-generation technology and services that will prevent millions of tonnes of carbon from entering Earth’s atmosphere by the end of 2025.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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