Virgin Media O2 finishes gigabit broadband upgrade

Virgin Media O2 has announced the completion of its lauded national network upgrade to gigabit speeds. The operator added another 1.1 million homes on its nationwide broadband network to bring it to 15.5 million total.

“The Gig1 broadband service offers average download speeds of 1,13 0Mbps — 22 times faster than the national average — which enables households to do more online at the same time and on multiple devices. Gigabit broadband also paves the way for future technologies and applications such as metaverse style augmented and virtual reality experiences and cloud gaming,” said the company in a statement.

The buildout is part of a £10 billion, five-year broadband infrastructure plan. Project Lightning has already produced 2.6 million additional connections to the fiber network, which launched in 2019. 

In July, the operator announced plans to upgrade its network to Full Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), with plans to compete the buildout by 2028. The investment is a big play for wholesale broadband from the company that’s already the U.K.’s largest gigabit broadband provider. The company said the FTTP service will deliver symmetrical 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) download and upload speeds. 

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) authorized the merger of fixed operator Virgin Media and Telefonica-owned mobile operator O2 in May. Virgin Media O2 officially launched in the U.K. in June. At the time of the launch the company counted 47 million connections including broadband, mobile, TV and fixed lines.

Shortly thereafter, Virgin Media O2 selected Ericsson for its forthcoming 5G Standalone (SA) deployment. The new agreement sees the operator bring its 4G, 5G NSA and 5G SA services into a single fully integrated Ericsson dual-mode 5G Core hosted on Ericsson cloud infrastructure in the operator’s data centers. The solution is incorporating Ericsson network orchestration, automation, enhanced fault and performance management, as well as the Ericsson Traffic Monitoring and Analysis (TMA) solution for real-time troubleshooting and analytics.

In October, Samsung announced plans to carry out 4G and 5G trials with Virgin Media O2, with plans to verify the capability and performance of Samsung’s 4G and 5G network solutions in Virgin Media O2’s commercial network. Samsung said that the trial will assess interoperability between its solutions and Virgin Media O2’s 2G and 3G legacy networks. For the trial, Samsung will provide its baseband unit, 5G massive MIMO radios, as well as 4G radios on both low-band and mid-band spectrum.

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