The company has now upgraded all of its 15.5 million covered premises to the more advanced DOCSIS 3.1 technology

Today, Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has announced that they have completed upgrading their existing network to DOCSIS 3.1 technology, four years ahead of schedule. 

The upgrade process has been underway for the last two years, accelerating at an incredible pace. VMO2 announced that they had reached the halfway point  (around 7.75 million homes) in their upgrade plans only back in August, meaning that they have upgraded a further 7.75 million homes in the last four months. 

“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,” said VMO2 CEO Lutz Schüler. 

This final batch of 1.1 million announced today covers locations including Exeter, Poole, Plymouth, Norwich, Luton, Loughbrough, Oldham, Rochdale and parts of Surrey and Hertfordshire. 

This development goes a long way towards helping reach the government’s goals of 85% of the UK being covered with gigabit-capable broadband by 2025. Currently, gigabit coverage extends to around 65% of the UK and VMO2’s upgrade constitutes a large part of that total; just 29% of the UK is covered by fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

Schüler was keen to emphasise that VMO2 is now “the country’s largest gigabit provider by far”, saying “there’s no slowing down at Virgin Media O2”. However, it should be remembered that from here on out deployments will be primarily FTTP, the deployment of which will take much longer and probably engender a certain amount of overbuild for VMO2. 

Speaking of full fibre, Openreach, VMO2’s largest fixed broadband competitor, currently has goals of covering 25 million premises (around 80% of the UK) with FTTP by 2025. Currently, the company has passed around 6 million premises with FTTP, with the rest of their network largely unable to achieve gigabit speeds, meaning Virgin Media will likely enjoy the accolade of being the country’s largest gigabit provider for a number of years yet. 

This is important, since VMO2, by contrast, has just 1.2 million FTTP premises passed, meaning they will have their own race on their hands when it come to full fibre. VMO2 said earlier this year that they plan to reach an additional 7 million homes over the next five years.


As we enter 2022, are the government’s gigabit capable broadband goals looking likely to be met? Find out from the operators themselves at Connected Britain 2022

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