Virgin Media O2 has today completed the upgrade of its entire national network to gigabit speeds, delivering nearly two-thirds of the Government’s broadband ambition four years ahead of the target date and cementing the company’s status as the UK’s largest gigabit provider.
The operator completed its rollout after switching on gigabit speeds to a final 1.1 million homes for the first time, meaning all 15.5 million homes passed by Virgin Media O2’s network can now access this hyperfast connectivity.
Virgin Media O2 is the only major internet service provider to have completed a gigabit upgrade programme at this scale, rolling out next-generation services to every home on its network in a little over two years without the need for lengthy construction work. This milestone solidifies Virgin Media O2’s leadership position with a gigabit network that is more than twice the size of its nearest competitor.
The Gig1 broadband service offers average download speeds of 1,130Mbps – 22 times faster than the national average – which enables households to do more online at the same time and on multiple devices. Gigabit broadband also paves the way for future technologies and applications such as metaverse style augmented and virtual reality experiences and cloud gaming.
Since Virgin Media first launched gigabit services in September 2019, the UK’s average broadband speed has increased by almost 50% predominantly due to the fact Virgin Media has continued to provide its customers with faster speeds. In recent years, demand for ultrafast services has grown rapidly as consumers use more data than ever before.
Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “Just two years ago we set out to spearhead the UK’s gigabit revolution and today we’ve delivered. Our investment to bring gigabit broadband to every home on our network has catapulted the UK’s digital infrastructure forward by a decade and forced others to up their game.
“As the country’s largest gigabit provider by far, we’re the driving force behind widespread gigabit availability four years ahead of the Government’s target.
“Having reached this major milestone in just two years, we’re doubling down on our mission to upgrade the UK by continuing to innovate and invest in our network to support the technologies of tomorrow – there’s no slowing down at Virgin Media O2.”
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries welcomed the news, saying: “Getting high speed broadband into everyone’s homes is a top priority and Virgin Media O2’s efforts mean we’re making quick progress in our mission to level up the UK with better connectivity.
“We must ensure that rural areas are not left behind, which is why alongside industry’s roll out we’re investing up to £5 billion to make top-of-the-range speeds available in hard-to-reach communities.”
Virgin Media O2 is upgrading the UK
As part of its mission to upgrade the UK, the company has committed to invest at least £10bn over the next 5 years in the UK.
Virgin Media O2 is already one of the largest network builders in the country and continues to expand its footprint through Project Lighting which has seen more than 2.6 million additional premises built to so far since works began – all can now access gigabit services. To go further and faster, the business is actively exploring options to deploy fibre to millions of additional homes across the country.
The company has also successfully completed a number of real-world trials to deliver speeds of 2.2Gbps to homes using its existing network and technology.
Earlier this year Virgin Media O2 announced its intention to upgrade its fixed network to full fibre to the premises (FTTP) with completion in 2028. This technology is capable of delivering symmetrical 10Gbps download and upload speeds, meaning Virgin Media O2 will build on its existing leadership position today and be well equipped for the decades ahead as the demand for speed and capacity continues to rise.
Gig1 – faster speeds and complete connectivity
Customers taking Gig1 will benefit from Virgin Media’s gigabit capable router – the Hub 4. The router features Intelligent WiFi firmware to provide speedy and reliable connectivity throughout customers’ homes.
The Hub 4 boasts more antennae than its predecessor, the Hub 3, meaning it can manage multiple devices at the same time around the home which can all share the hyperfast speeds.
Gig1 customers can also take their connectivity to the next level with Intelligent WiFi pods which are available at no extra cost. The pods can help tackle WiFi blackspots around the home, providing faster and more reliable speeds in hard-to-reach spots.
Gig1 broadband is available to new and existing customers and can be packaged with or without telephone, TV and mobile services. Prices start from just £62 per month on an 18 month contract with a guaranteed price freeze for at least 24 months.
Customers can find out more and buy Gig1 at https://www.virginmedia.com/broadband/gigabit
NOTES TO EDITORS
The average (median) broadband speed in the UK is 50.4Mbps. Source: Ofcom, Home Broadband Performance Report, published September 2021.
The average (mean) broadband speed in May 2019 was 50.4Mbps. Source: Ofcom, UK Home Broadband Performance Report 2019, published May 20219. In May 2021, the mean speed had increased to 80.2Mbps, according to Ofcom’s report.