25,000 new broadband connections at Virgin Media in Q4 2017
Virgin Media in its latest results that cover the full year of 2017 and break out some figures for Q4 show that they added some 196,000 broadband revenue generating units (RGU - known as connections or customers in non finance speak) in 2017 with Q4 adding 25,000 suggesting that Q4 was not the best quarter of the year by a large margin.
Overall Virgin Media across its full phone, broadband and cable TV service appears to have added 8,000 customers in the quarter, and has highlighted that improved performance in new build areas (some of which will be seeing a decent speed service for the first time) is offset by reduced growth in the existing network footprint. The cable TV service had a turnaround compared to 2016, since in 2016 then lost 36,000 customers but added 86,000 in 2017.
Back onto the broadband it is reported that 70% of broadband customers are on a 100 Mbps or faster package now and as we identify 19% of customers from our speed test as being on the 50 Mbps package then this looks a reasonable statistic, there is a 70 Mbps package in the wild but not on the product pages and we identify them as 100 Mbps customers.
Project Lightning which is a mixture of full fibre presented as DOCSIS via a converter on or in each property and the traditional DOCSIS coax hybrid fibre network is said to have reached 1.1 million premises with 536,000 premises denoted as marketable being added in 2017.
The addition of the 350 Mbps tier will be welcomed by the usual fastest is the only way to go crowd, but the much broader base will be much more interested in improvements to peak time speeds, which in turn should reduce the number of buffering incidents when streaming films to devices around the home. Additionally if latency spiking can be reduced they might start to get gamers coming back to the service.
One long running problem for Virgin Media has been the Intel Puma bug that was causing large amounts of jitter and it seems a fix is finally being rolled out based on chatter on our forums. The ping monitoring for users with the SuperHub 3 would often show jitter at around two thirds the height of the ping monitor tool graph and while this should have no effect on day to day web browsing for gamers a stable latency is key to enjoying their time gaming online.
We still await any official news on when DOCSIS 3.1 will appear and that should allow Virgin Media to unleash much faster speeds rather than the current drip drip increase, where the latest 350 Mbps speed point appears to be designed to ensure that the G.fast roll-out once it reaches volume does not stop Virgin Media from being able to claim the fastest major broadband provider crown.