Thursday 29 July 2021 7:52 am

Virgin Media O2 to upgrade UK broadband network to full-fibre by 2028

Virgin Media O2 today unveiled plans to upgrade its UK broadband network to full-fibre by 2028 as it ramped up the pressure on telecoms rival BT.

The company, which launched last month following the £31bn merger between Virgin Media and O2, said its project will cover 14.3m premises across the country, including 1.3m homes already covered by full-fibre.

BT has set a target of reaching 25m premises by the end of 2026.

Virgin Media O2 said its investment plan would bolster its long-term network strategy, improve connectivity for consumers and businesses and create options to potentially pursue the broadband wholesale market in the UK.

It added that the project would cause a “modest” increase to its current capital expenditure costs of roughly £2bn per year.

“Our mission is to upgrade the UK, and we are doing exactly that,” said boss Lutz Schueler.

“This major new fibre upgrade programme will see us begin the next evolution of our network, building on the investment, firepower and leadership we already have and ensuring we’re fibre fit for the future.”

It came as the newly-merged telecoms group reported its first set of quarterly results.

The company added 36,000 broadband subscribers in the second quarter, while its fixed-line customer base increased to 5.7m and mobile connections grew by almost 1m.

Adjusted revenue of £2.5bn was roughly in line with last year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 6.2 per cent to £935m.

The merged group is hoping to capitalise on a growing trend of convergence across the industry by offering a range of telecoms services.

Virgin Media O2, which boasts 47m users, said 40 per cent of its broadband customers also take a mobile contract with either Virgin Media or O2.