Virgin Media O2 is planning to upgrade 14mn UK homes with full fibre broadband capabilities over the next seven years
Virgin Media O2 has today announced plans to install fibre-optic broadband across 14mn homes and businesses in the UK. The company, which was formed from a merger between Virgin Media and O2, says it is making the move in an attempt to compete with BT.
With installation costs of around £100 per property, Virgin Media O2 will lay the ultrafast fibre technology alongside existing cables located in underground tunnels. The switch aims to have installed fibre capabilities in 14.3mn homes by 2028, expanding on the 1.2mn homes with current fibre broadband access.
Lutz Schuler, Chief Executive of Virgin Media O2, said the move will herald “the next evolution” of its network “ensuring we’re fiber-fit for the future.”
“Our mission is to upgrade the UK, and we are doing exactly that,” he said.
Fibre broadband installation to represent a “modest annual increase” for Virgin Media O2
The company has said that the work of installing fibre broadband across the UK will result in a “modest annual increase” in its current capital expenditure budget currently standing at £2bn (US$2.7bn) per year.
The news follows the announcement that Virgin’s main competitor, BT Openreach, also intended to install fibre broadband, increasing its coverage to a further 551 towns and cities across the UK, as part of its £15bn programme to support 25mn properties. BT’s broadband rollout aims to provide the service to a total of 5mn homes and businesses.
In a statement commenting on the rollout, Virgin Media O2 said: “Right now, we have the UK’s leading gigabit network, and this upgrade means we’ll be even stronger for the decades ahead, pursuing new opportunities and putting words into action.
“In 60 days since the formation of Virgin Media O2, we have achieved a lot, but this is just the beginning. With strong foundations for growth in place, we will boost connectivity, provide greater choice and be a challenger the country can count on.”
The firm added that “the existing cable network will continue to be maintained and developed while the extensive upgrade takes place.”