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Virgin's 100meg broadband reaches one million homes
Wednesday 16 March 2011 10:43:43 by John Hunt

Virgin media have announced today that their fastest broadband service - 100Mbps in speed - is now available to over one million homes, with a complete network-wide roll-out still earmarked for mid 2012. More areas are continuously being upgraded, and readers can check the 100meg broadband section of Virgin's site to see when they will be able to get it. A full list of currently enabled areas is below.

"Reaching the one million home milestone is a hugely important step in ensuring consumers are able to keep up with the latest developments in this digitally connected world. We had more then 10,000 registrations on the first day we unveiled 100Mb so there is real desire for better broadband and all the wonderful things you can do with a fast connection. When we finish the roll-out of 100Mb across our network, half the country will have access to ultrafast broadband. That'll be six years ahead of EU targets."

Jon James, (executive director of broadband) Virgin Media

The Virgin network currently passes around 13 million homes so has the potential to provide super-fast broadband to many people. Whether many people will opt for the faster speeds, is yet to be seen. Take-up of the Virgin 50meg product wasn't extensive, but this was priced at a level that would mainly only attract enthusiasts. The 100meg product currently at £45 a month standalone, or £35 a month when bundled with other Virgin products suffers from a similar high price, particularly at a time when many families are feeling the pinch due to the current economic problems.

Currently enabled areas are as follows:

Barrhead, Renfrewshire Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Barry, South Wales Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire
Bedford, Bedfordshire Hinckley, Leicestershire
Canniesburn, Scotland Leatherhead, Surrey
Cardiff, Wales Nailsea, Somerset
Cheshunt, Hertfordshire Pentwyn, South Wales
Colchester, Essex Port Talbot, South Wales
Cwmbran, South Wales Refrew, Renfrewshire
Dunstable, Bedfordshire Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Ely, Cambridgeshire Sketty, South Wales
Enfield, Greater London Southport, Merseyside
Epsom, Surrey St Mellons, South Wales
Farnborough, Hampshire Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Gorseinon, Wales Stockport, Greater Manchester
Grantham, Lincolnshire Telford, Shropshire
Greenock, Scotland Treforest, South Wales
Guildford, Surrey Trowbridge, Wiltshire
  Wardley, Greater Manchester


Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
The same million homes that could get their lower speed offerings though I presume? No expansion of the network just greater speeds which based on take up of the 50Mb service not many want. Money would be better spent on expansion IMO
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Yes, upgrading existing areas to receive 100meg broadband.
Posted by MrMot over 6 years ago
I wish they'd expand their network.

Every town surrounding me is cabled, I think our council may have told them "no C&W, we do not want you ripping up our streets for a future proofed network. But we will let every other service ruin the pavement and road surfaces with their installations"

That's Cannock, staffs BTW.
Posted by pottonian over 6 years ago
Yes - we have the same problem where I am (Potton in Bedfordshire). Despite by all accounts Virgin now starting to do work in neighbouring Sandy (some 4 miles away), I've been told on enquiring with Virgin that currently, it's not economical for them to look at linking in Potton (which has its own telephone exchange) with any such work.... :-(
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Until VM gets rid their debt or gets some serious profit margin, don't expect expansion, oh and then you have the VOA tax...
Posted by uklad77 over 6 years ago
@otester, Virgin added 177,000 homes to the cable network in 2010
Posted by undecidedadrian over 6 years ago
Given that I would never ever ever go back to cable after the way I was treated last time.

They could give me 100 meg for free and I still wouldn't want it off them.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago

22.5 million homes in the UK, VM have ~50% penetration so added 177k to 11.5 million, not much of an expansion. And have upgraded their speed(nothing said about improving bandwidth at the same time) for 10% of their network...
And as otester pointed out VM are crippled by debt, so until they sort that out their expansions will be small.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
"Virgin added 177,000 homes to the cable network in 2010"

To put that into context, that's about the same as the number of homes passedfor FTTC in two weeks, based on previous announcemeents for the latter.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
VM aren't crippled by debt at all they are quite profitable now, they just have a set budget of £300 per home for new homes and are reluctant to invest if they can't get the costs below that level.

New_Londoner - tell me what BT have passed with FTTP then we'll discuss 'context'. Similar level of work for both, if anything FTTP easier until home made live due to less active components.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
@dixi - 270k by September, when did they start?

VM started a quarter of a century ago.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Given one stopped deploying their network actively a decade ago and has just been plugging gaps where economical while the other is doing a network deployment where's the relevance in such a comparison?

Comparing apples with oranges, an infill program versus a network roll out and network to home vs network to node. No real context to be had as so completely different.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Apples & Oranges doesn't really matter, bottom line is presence and Virgin's hasn't increased hardly at all.

You can't compare FTTP with Virgin's offerings either, that is still apples and oranges, because if anything its easier for BT to deploy FTTP with existing ducts and a pole delivery.

FTTP is growing, they are rolling it out in York at the moment.
Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
Virgin Media has £6bn in debt, just under £500m in cash so net debt of £5.5bn. So yes, they are still heavily in debt. To put that in context if every one of the 11.5m households they passed gave them £10 net profit per month then they'd need 4 years to pay that debt down.

Given that they have 4.2m customers, we'll be generous and say they make £20 net off of each of those 4.2m per month then that £5.5bn will take roughly 5.5 years to pay down, not counting any interest.

Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
I should add that for 2010 Virgin Media EBIT was just under $300m, so I was being generous giving them a net profit of £20/m/customer, very generous.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
They don't need to pay the debt down, their leverage isn't particularly high and their refinancing arrangements very good.

Even with the interest payments they are stil raising copious amounts of cash, this is a cable company, they use amortisation to reduce tax liabilities.

They also report their results in sterling, no idea where you got that figure from.
Posted by mhisani over 6 years ago
Considering they're on the NYSE i'd imagine a dollar figure would be required in results for shareholders
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago

um...have you read their financial statement for 2010? Given they made a loss for the full year 2010 of £141m how can they be profitable?

See page 11: Net Income
Posted by eastanglian over 6 years ago
Envy, what a sin ... Virgin deliver 100Mbps in Treforest, half a mile across the valley ADSL technologies struggle to deliver 5 Mbps. Where's the fairness in this world?
Posted by chefbyte over 6 years ago
Hmm, I have 3 VM cabs within 100 metres from my house but they wont put it in, as I live on a private road. 8meg DSL for me and thats it
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
themanstan did you read the above where I mentioned they, like most cable companies, use amortisation to reduce their liabilities?

Look at their free cash flow. All about £1bn of it for the year. That's the actual money they made.
Posted by russianmonkey over 6 years ago
I have 20mb broadband, i don't need any faster yet... I'll get BT infinity when it rolls out but that's really all i'd need.
Posted by adslmax over 6 years ago
Don't need 100 meg, what the point ? as downloading is now throttling by traffic shaping. £45 standalone is alots of money for 12 months. 10 Meg is faster enough for me.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

For those that are educated, there are many uses for higher speeds and the traffic shaping, that's easy to bypass.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
All companies use amortisation to account for lifespan of infrastructure and equipment investments. All companies use EBIT and FCF to show positive cash flow from business, but net income is the real measure of profitability! This takes into account all debts and costs. That's why it's called the bottom line Dix. It may be a healthy company but it is not profitable otherwise they would have reported a profit for 2010, however they didn't and their own report says as much.
Posted by keith969 over 6 years ago
"half the country will have access to ultrafast broadband"

Yeah, and half the country WILL NOT have access. Still I guess I am lucky I can get 6Mb in rural oxfordshire.
Posted by gsituffers1 over 6 years ago
look at last ofcom results for the product itself bt infinity upto 40mb bb is loosing upto 10mb over 24 hours and upto 6mb lost in peak hours
virgin 50 mb bb lost upto 6mb bb over 24 hours and upto 7mb lost in peak hours
so in honest normal terms virgin has the better product -unlimited as standard - traffic management as standard on 10,20&30mb bb
but no trafiic amangement on 50or100mb bb
Posted by gsituffers1 over 6 years ago
look at it from another view -virgin/ntl etc rolled out 1,2,4,10,20,50&100mb bb everyone else is upto24mb in same timescale all companies have some sort of traffic shaping /management capped bb fair usage policy or acceptable usage policy to be used or abused -as it goes you get what you pay for -20mb vm xl bb upto 1778gb of bb in one month acceptable usage policy breached - asked to not download so much in peak hours and cust calle and asked when he went to 50mb bb how much more money per month only £7 ppm ? good value or not ? you tell me
Posted by adslmax over 6 years ago
virgin media FUP is no more than 250GB per month allowance on all products 1,2,4,10,20,30,50 and 100 Meg. There isn't UNLIMITED download really as once you hit 250GB you will get a warning letter from virgin media.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
themanstan Net income isn't the measure of profitability, amortisation / depreciation who cares? FCF is the measure of the cash the company is generating.

Net Income + Amortisation / depreciation - CapEx - Working Capital changes = FCF.

Net income is about the value of the company, not its ability to pay its bills and fund new CapEx.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
themanstan - I say this because it's the most valid measure with such infrastructure heavy companies as cable companies. Due to their huge amounts of infrastructure and relatively low current CapEx depreciation / amortisation can be very high and can skew results big time.

Anyway - bottom line VM are paying down their debt and covering their interest bill comfortably as well as doing share buybacks.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

That's a load of rubbish.

It is based on local congestion and if you do get a letter it simply states to move your downloading outside of 9am-9pm block.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@otester sounds like a limit to me, a limit on when you can download?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@otester:"For those that are educated, there are many uses for higher speeds". No. Only for those who are deluded or have no respect for other people's rights.

You might as well be the owner of a Ferrari claiming that 'For drivers that are educated there are many reasons for driving around at over 150mph'.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

I agree that it is a limit, I was contesting the 250GB limit adslmax stated, the policy however is still more favorable than an unmetered DSL service even if you have to do major downloading outside peak hours simply because it is faster.


To enforce IPR you have to violate the right to privacy.

IPR is not a right, it is another control law ("need") like gun control, substance bans and social policies.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
for the uneducated who think they educated, higher speeds need to be available before a killer app comes :), end of the day VM is a brilliant service for those with crappy rotting BT infrastructure like myself. Also the prices are not that expensive, compared to rest of EU.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Killer apps already exist, those that give you access to Usenet.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
lol yeah although I would add a requirement for the app to have at least a million or so people using it to be considered a killer app. The sort of thing that will make investors scared to not invest rather than the other way round. I think there is already killer apps justifying 10mbit connections, however most people think up to 16mbit+ adsl2 services are capable of such tech.
Posted by anon123456 over 6 years ago
It's no different to something like the graphics card and game market struggle, one product needs the other and vice versa, you only make overall progress when both sides take leaps of faith and provide services which are not ready for mainstream yet.

You will never see killer app services that use 100mbit until the majorety of users have them speeds, so sometimes you need a little extra speed to encourage new apps and new apps to enourage a little extra speed. Baby steps.
Posted by SYM9 over 6 years ago
If I remember correctly, VM have a major problem acquiring permission to lay new cable due to restrictions laid down by local authorities. I believe this was the reason they began looking into using the telegraph pole infrastructure.
Posted by freemason over 6 years ago
Virgin could not give it to me for free. Will never suffer the uselessness of Virgin ever again such a sad "organisation". I do wish there was greater competition in CABLEland though...dreams
Posted by creakycopperline over 6 years ago
heckmondwike is just next door to my town,
why couldn't they have carried on to cleckheaton?
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