Following a successful trial last year, Virgin Media O2 has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 56% using recycled aggregate across an entire build in Scotland for the first time – making it one of the operator’s most sustainable network expansion works to date.
Since May, Virgin Media O2 has connected more than 3,000 homes and businesses in Shotts, Scotland to its ultrafast gigabit network, which delivers speeds of up to 1,130Mbps.
Whilst the majority of telecommunications companies use new materials sourced from quarries when building or expanding their network, Virgin Media O2 with build partner Diona has used recycled stone and sand when reinstating the ground. In doing so, the business has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from reinstatement by more than half (56%) – the equivalent of stopping more than 12,500kg of carbon from entering the earth’s atmosphere.
This follows a successful trial across two Glasgow streets using recycled materials last year, with support from Glasgow City Council and planning and design specialists, C-Plan, which paved the way for its more expansive use.
Virgin Media O2 has long been committed to boosting connectivity in Scotland. Since 2015, Virgin Media O2 has invested over £207m connecting more than 350,000 additional homes and businesses in Scotland to its gigabit broadband network through ‘Project Lightning’. The company has improved 4G network capacity in a further 33,000 Scottish postcodes over the last year, providing communities with more reliable mobile coverage, with its 5G network now available in 58 towns and cities across Scotland.
Rob Evans, Managing Director for Network Expansion at Virgin Media O2 said: “From a two-street trial to a 3,000-home build; we’re driving forward change at pace in our network expansion to turn our net zero ambition into a reality.
“One of our most sustainable builds to date – we’ve cut carbon not quality when connecting thousands more homes in Shotts to our next generation speeds and ultra-reliable service at a time when it’s never mattered more.”
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Through Scotland’s Full Fibre Charter, the Scottish Government is working with telecoms operators to maximise the extent of full fibre broadband and encourage innovation and new technologies. As a signatory, Virgin Media O2’s commercial approach complements Scottish Government activity and is crucial in supporting high quality connectivity that benefits all our communities.
“Virgin Media O2’s new and sustainable policy on laying broadband cables is connecting 3,000 homes this year across Scotland using recycled construction materials.
“This is in line with Scottish Government efforts to boost the economy through the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Digital connectivity has never been so important, helping people stay connected and supporting inclusive growth and the development of a low carbon economy.”
In May, Virgin Media O2 launched its sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, which sets out the company’s bold and ambitious commitments to cut carbon, champion circularity, and support communities as it upgrades the UK.
The business aims to achieve net zero carbon across its operations, products and supply chain by the end of 2040, and is committing to the Science Based Target initiative’s (SBTi) Net-Zero Standard. Using its gigabit broadband and 5G mobile networks to power next-generation technology and services, it also hopes to prevent 20 million tonnes of carbon from entering Earth’s atmosphere by the end of 2025