Virgin Media is the largest ultrafast broadband provider in the UK, with a network that passes some 49% of UK premises and is expanding rapidly. It may not hold the crown of the fastest residential provider, which lies with operators like B4RN, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic but their footprints are significantly smaller, hence the various caveats you may glimpse in Virgin Media TV adverts.
The Q1/2016 results revealed a growth in broadband customers to 4.75 million in United Kingdom and the expansion project known as Project Lightning passed another 70,000 premises in the first quarter of 2016, and with the aim of passing half a million during 2016 the summer months are going to be busy. The expansion by Virgin Media is an important aspect for the overall broadband picture in the UK as it provides an illustration of the costs for any new entrants to the UK market that might be looking to take on the duopoly of BT and Virgin Media or just BT if they pick their areas carefully, the cost per premise passed looks to be running at around £600.
We are seeing people using the 300 Mbps product that is available on request in certain areas of the Virgin Media cable network and is aimed at the SOHO market but it has not yet made a dent in the overall statistics but we are sure that in time we will be reporting on the percentage we believe are using the product.
Virgin Media is expected to expand to around 65% UK coverage if the Project Lightning roll-out delivers improved customer numbers (i.e. shows a return for the money spent) and the top speeds can keep rising particularly once DOCSIS 3.1 is rolled out so any ambitions by BT to wrestle the crown for fastest widely available broadband provider in the UK look doomed and while it is easy to point a finger of blame at BT for the lack of FTTH in the urban UK environment the success of Virgin Media is also to blame since. The love of the semi-detached rather than apartment living is also partly to blame, but Hyperoptic is working hard to corner the apartment market which anyone visiting London for the first time in a few years will notice is a rapidly growing area.