The UK is almost guaranteed to have an ultrafast broadband connection available to over half of UK premises in the next few months (needs just 0.2% more), this is the result of the Project Lightning expansion by Virgin Media and FTTP roll-outs from a variety of operators. With the number of extra broadband connections added in Q4 2015 for Virgin Media at 69,000 this was their best broadband quarter for some years and they had even more telephone lines connected with an extra 94,000. Virgin Media has a total of 4,684,000 broadband customers putting them in third place behind BT and Sky.
Project Lightning is very much demand led and the bulk of the roll-out of 250,000 extra premises passed in 2015 was in the later part of the year, and another 500,000 are expected in 2016. Project Lightning is a mixture of infill work using the traditional DOCSIS cable infrastructure and full fibre to the premises with the TV and broadband delivered via RFOG so that the product set for the consumer is exactly the same.
The speed freaks may have been upset that the 300 Mbps speed tier is still not slated to appear for consumers, but the Virgin Media move to offer this as a package to small business fits in with the wider Liberty Global target of seeking growth via SOHO take-up. We are seeing business users on what looks to be the 300 Mbps product.
It is believed that helped by the various upgrades over the years 43% of Virgin Media customers are on a 100 Mbps or faster service, and while our download speed tests suggest a much lower figure looking at the upload speeds which are much less constrained by issues like Wi-Fi performance we have around 40% of tests from users (January 2016 data) on a service with a 6 Mbps or faster upload speed which actually lines up with the Virgin Media figures since the 100 Mbps and faster services should have a 6 Mbps or faster upload speed. 20% have an upload speed of over 10 Mbps suggesting the 152 Mbps or faster services.