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28% of Virgin Media customers on 100 Mbps or faster
Friday 13 February 2015 10:14:35 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media may have divested itself of the old ADSL customers but this has now unleashed the power of Liberty Global as shown by the expansion plans. The last quarter saw Virgin Media add 59,000 cable broadband customers to give them 4,536,000 Internet customers and interest in the ultrafast options is increasing, during 2014 he number on an ultrafast service grew by 1 million to 1.3 million.

The emphasis in the latest financials has moved from superfast to ultrafast with Virgin Media highlighting that their current network means ultrafast is an option to 12.6 million UK homes already and by 2020 this will be around two-thirds of the UK.

There is one key sentence in the financials which is a caveat to the expansion plans and this is that the plans are subject to a number of factors which include the financial and operational results from the earlier phases. We also suspect that the timing of the announcement is critical as the Government was just about to start pushing for changes to state-aid rules to increase gap funded superfast roll-outs in the cities, in effect Virgin Media may be saying we are willing to spend £3 billion and create 6,000 jobs if you leave the cities out of the BDUK process.

The Virgin Media use of ultrafast fits in with the general industry use where any connection of 100 Mbps or faster can promote itself as ultrafast.


Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago
Does the statement about 2/3rds mean VM has a substantial expansion plan?

Because to date we've viewed the ~50% as the line in the sand drawn by OFCOM for wholesale. Stepping beyond this would take VM into SMP territory.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 2 years ago
VM have been far more successful than BT at upselling
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
The announcement of extending their network by 4 million premises over 2015-2020 has got to count as pretty significant.

Their coverage had been pretty stagnant, and covered about 14m premises in 2012, according to point topic. That's roughly 50% of the UK.

The new coverage is thus around 14% ... But the mere fact they are expanding is significant.

Obviously too late to impact BDUK ph1, almost too late for SEP.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
@ themanstan - I suspect coverage is only one factor, another might well be market share analysis along the lines of Herfindahl index
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
The mere fact that VM can raise £3bn to extend their network is interesting. Given most of the original investment had to be written off, then that means confidence is returning.
It might also be a result of cheap money with interest rates being depressed through QE, which was intended to push investment away from monetary assets into commercial ones.
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago
What criteria to use though? Complicated index to use, multiple sets with weighting?
Fixed broadband market share or network reach?
And how to compare? Within VMs geographical areas or whole of UK...
BT has 31% and VM 20% of the fixed line BB market.
BT has 90% coverage and VM 50%, with the plan to be 66%.
Looking at VM coverage being 50%, yet having a market share of 20% means ~40% for the geographical area they occupy. And 30% for BT will be substantially less in VMs geographical occupancy.
Yuck, let the professional statisticians play with that.
Posted by GMAN99 over 2 years ago
"The mere fact that VM can raise £3bn to extend their network is interesting."

They have a new sugar daddy :)
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago

Crucial wording, "With the support of the parent company"...

Posted by adslmax over 2 years ago
more & more congestion on the virgin media network
Posted by tmcr over 2 years ago
Superfast, ultrafast - means little when you look at the poor upload speeds VM have. They should fulfil old promises of at least 10/1 up/down before marching on into other areas.
Posted by adslmax over 2 years ago
I agree I do remember when my 1st Virgin Media 100/10 then they change it to 100/5 before 152/12. Pretty poor.
Posted by BlackAle over 2 years ago
VM are limited with upload due to the underlying DOCSIS, we won't see much of an increase until they start using DOCSIS 3.1
Posted by bartman007 over 2 years ago
The rest cannot achieve more than 100Mb because on congestion/utilisation.
Posted by guesswot over 2 years ago
"You're now on our super speedy, up to 152Mb broadband". No, I am not, sometimes 40ish but usually below, upload 10/12.
Posted by J888www over 2 years ago
Don't be fooled by all the ISPs public relations deceptions, not one ISP actually deliver what their subscribers purchase..............
Posted by dandodex over 2 years ago
Sorry, come again?
158.27 Mbps / 11.8 Mbps
Posted by brusuth over 2 years ago
I remember i largely went from 20 or 30 meg to 120 for the extra upload speed. I'd imagine thats why BT and the various ISPs are having a hard time upselling the higher tier FTTC..

Virgin was speedy when it worked.. but it was like an on / off switch. As soon as congestion/utilisation creeps in, it's back to the slowest service (or worse) you go and it take so long for them to do anything about it.

The YouTube streaming issues broke the camels back for me and i left (then i also moved out of a VM area..)
Posted by brusuth over 2 years ago
Just to back up dandodex.. I managed this speed for several months until a nearby housing development filled up with people and it suffered greatly at peak.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 2 years ago
@GMAN99(FibreFred): Virgin Media actually shows some business sense here, something you won't see with BT.
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago

Should BT have done the same would people be happy?

I don't think they would have been... even allowing for BT having more engineering staff and knocking time off the build, to match the current level of coverage would be ~15-18 years... 6 vs 15-18 is a big difference.

My village certainly wouldn't have seen an improvement within 4 years of the commercial roll-out starting if it had been a FTTP solution.

I would rather have something that gave me "useful for a while" BB, rather than have to wait at least a decade for future proof BB.
Posted by comnut over 2 years ago
well I am on vergin 100Mb,

and note youtube limit their speed! I am getting 42 Mb just after that test - of course that would vary depending on the popularity of the video!

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