16 November 2022 – Reading, UK – Virgin Media Business Wholesale, the fixed wholesale connectivity arm of Virgin Media O2 Business, has launched an enhanced core platform for National High Capacity Services (NHCS).
Virgin Media Business Wholesale’s NHCS offering uses the Virgin Media O2 fixed optical network to provide high bandwidth, ultra-low latency connectivity with no distance limitations. Now rolling out across the UK, the new NHCS core network provides an alternative way of provisioning these services, whilst retaining all key attributes of the existing NHCS service. It is based on dedicated switched Ethernet technology, delivered over an optical platform, with steadfast bandwidth, and following a fixed network path end-to-end.
Virgin Media Business Wholesale already operates a national layer 1 optical platform, which has historically served all NHCS services. The new platform is an overlay to this existing network that allows for quicker, easier, and more intelligent delivery of NHCS services. It will support the wider deployment of 10Gbps services for businesses and industry, as part of the company’s commitment to evolving its services to meet user needs and deliver an improved customer experience.
The existing NHCS services operate at 300+ sites, providing connectivity to 150+ data centres. This national wavelength connectivity service will continue to be a critical component within the HCS portfolio, meeting the demands of customers with speed requirements exceeding 10Gbps or those needing communication protocols other than Ethernet.
The first 14 sites for the new core network are now live across the UK, including four data centres: Equinix MA1 (Manchester), Equinix LD5 (Slough), Interxion Sovereign House (London) and Telehouse East (London). The launch is the latest phase of Project Spark, a multi-million-pound investment in Virgin Media Business Wholesale’s 10Gbps portfolio. As Project Spark gathers pace, the new network build will continue, with hundreds more sites being added in 2023 and into 2024.
This rollout includes expansion to more data centre locations across the breadth of the UK – including brand new diverse fibre routes and network platforms at the new Equinix flagship site, Manchester MA5 (expected to go live early 2023).
The project also marks the first stage of a bigger programme of work between Virgin Media Business Wholesale and networking systems, services and software provider, Ciena. Ciena’s WaveLogic coherent optical innovations underpin the enhanced NHCS core network capability, enabling network scalability, flexibility and quick turn-up of new services. Ciena is also working closely with Virgin Media Business Wholesale on its go-to-market strategy from ideation to execution.
Diego Tedesco, Wholesale Fixed Director at Virgin Media O2 Business, said: “The launch of our new National High Capacity Services core network is set to provide our partners with quicker and simpler provisioning to help improve their customer experience. I’m very excited to bring this enhanced capability to our partners. It’s a major milestone in our Project Spark investment programme, and now the first sites are live we’re focusing on rolling out our 10Gbps portfolio to many more locations, delivered faster and through greater automation.
“And this new core platform is just the start. We have many more exciting projects expected to launch later this year and into 2023, including Metro 10Gbps access network upgrades. All of which adds up to a huge overhaul of our network capabilities – so our valued wholesale partners benefit from 10Gbps at even more locations and a simple, speedy and accurate one-touch provisioning process end-to-end.”
Will Rhodes, CMS Consultant at Ciena, said: “The launch of the new NHCS core network reaffirms Virgin Media Business Wholesale as a leader in delivering high-capacity fixed communication services to providers and wholesale customers across the UK. Together we will identify new opportunities across various market segments and show the crucial value and benefits NHCS can bring to customers through faster, simpler, and more enhanced services.”