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.