Virgin Media O2 has confirmed that it has upgraded a total of 10 million premises to its gigabit broadband connection, unlocking download speeds of 1,130Mbps and upload speeds of 52Mbps. To put that into context, the average broadband speed across the UK this year was recorded as 71.8Mbps …that’s only a fraction faster than the upload speed available to Virgin Media users.
As it stands, Virgin Media customers nationwide can access top download speeds of 630Mbps, which is available as part of the Ultimate Oomph TV Bundle. While that’s still almost 9x faster than the average UK home internet connection, it’s nowhere near what’s possible with a gigabit full-fibre connection.
As well as installing full-fibre cables in new areas, Virgin Media O2 has been systematically upgrading these older cables to its fastest infrastructure to increase the top download speed up to 1,130Mbps.
With its last update, Virgin Media O2 confirmed that 8 million premises had already benefited from this upgrade. These were scattered across the country, including large parts of London, South Wales, Southampton, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow, Bournemouth, Bristol, Northampton, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Wigan and York.
There are still around 15.5 million homes still waiting to get the speed boost.
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Speaking about the ongoing speed upgrade, Virgin Media O2 CEO Lutz Schüler said: “We’re rapidly expanding our gigabit broadband network and more than 10 million homes across the UK can now access these next-generation speeds.
“As the UK’s largest gigabit provider today, committed to connecting our entire network to these speeds by the end of the year, our investment is helping the UK meet its broadband targets and providing consumers with connectivity fit for the future.”
In comparison, BT-owned Openreach hopes to expand its full-fibre network to 25 million premises by December 2026. They’ve already reached more than 5 million homes, but it’s going to take them some time to catch Virgin Media O2. Openreach’s infrastructure is used by a number of providers, including BT, EE, Vodafone, Sky, TalkTalk, and dozens more.
Virgin Media O2 does not allow third-parties to leverage its broadband cables, although it’s rumoured to be looking into changing that to challenge the dominance of Openreach.
It comes as Virgin Media O2 has committed to invest at least £10 billion over the next 5 years into the UK and, building on the success of its existing fibre network expansion activity, is exploring options to deploying fibre to millions of additional homes across the country.
Commenting on the latest announcement, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We have set out ambitious measures to encourage commercial investment in broadband, speed up rollout and spend £5 billion connecting hard-to-reach areas, so I’m pleased to see the excellent progress Virgin Media O2 is making getting lightning-fast gigabit speeds to the nation’s homes and businesses.”
Those who want the fastest download speeds available from Virgin Media O2 will be looking at a monthly cost of around £62 a month, with a minimum contract length of 18-months. Virgin Media O2 usually offers deals and bundles for those who want to combine paid-for TV with their broadband.