Virgin Media O2’s shareholders, Liberty Global and Telefónica, alongside investment firm, InfraVia Capital Partners, have today announced a major investment in Britain of approximately £4.5bn with the creation of a new fibre joint venture. Up to 7 million premises will be passed with a new wholesale full fibre network representing a significant commitment to the UK and a boost to the nation’s digital economy at a crucial time.
The partnership will initially roll out fibre to 5 million homes not currently served by Virgin Media O2’s network by 2026, with the opportunity to expand to an additional ~2 million homes.
Virgin Media O2 will commit to being a wholesale customer of the new network from day one, which will extend its total fibre footprint up to 23 million premises. It will also play an integral role by providing its well-established network expansion expertise, systems and relationships to the entity.
This new fibre venture, alongside Virgin Media O2’s existing network, will offer greater wholesale choice to other operators across the country.
Commenting on this investment, Virgin Media O2’s CEO, Lutz Schüler, said:
“This multi-billion pound investment is a vote of confidence in Britain that will take Virgin Media O2’s fibre footprint to 80% of the UK, boosting our position as the biggest challenger in the market.
“Virgin Media O2 will play a crucial role by providing extensive build talent and expertise to the new venture, as well as being a major wholesale customer which fuels fantastic expansion economics from the get-go. Alongside our existing gigabit network, other operators will be presented with a sizeable and attractive wholesale opportunity that will enhance competition and choice like never before.”
The full press release related to this announcement can be found here.
It is expected that this transaction will close in Q4 2022.
Virgin Media O2 is the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider passing 15.9 million premises with speeds of 1.1Gbps. Last year the operator announced that it will be upgrading its network to full fibre with completion in 2028. That upgrade work continues. The company also remains on track to expand its network to more than 500,000 premises this year through its Project Lightning programme.