Virgin Media O2 completes gigabit upgrade

This makes it the only UK operator to have rolled out gigabit speeds across its entire network

Virgin Media O2 has announced the completion of its gigabit upgrade, which means that 15.5 million homes and businesses passed by the operator’s network can now benefit from average download speeds of 1,130Mbps.

The announcement comes more than two years after the upgrade works began, with Virgin Media first launching gigabit services in September 2019.

Having since merged with O2, the company is the UK’s only major provider to have rolled out gigabit speeds across its entire network, four years ahead of the government’s target of 85% gigabit coverage nationwide.

It’s estimated that 65% of the UK’s premises currently have access to gigabit connectivity, after having reached the 50% coverage milestone in September.

Commenting on today’s news, Virgin Media O2 CEO Lutz Schüler said that the company’s  “investment to bring gigabit broadband to every home on our network has catapulted the UK’s digital infrastructure forward by a decade and forced others to up their game”.

“As the country’s largest gigabit provider by far, we’re the driving force behind widespread gigabit availability four years ahead of the Government’s target. Having reached this major milestone in just two years, we’re doubling down on our mission to upgrade the UK by continuing to innovate and invest in our network to support the technologies of tomorrow – there’s no slowing down at Virgin Media O2,” he added.

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Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries welcomed Virgin Media O2’s announcement, saying that “getting high speed broadband into everyone's homes is a top priority”.

“Virgin Media O2's efforts mean we're making quick progress in our mission to level up the UK with better connectivity.

Dorries called for ensuring that premises in rural areas “are not left behind” in the gigabit rollout, adding that the UK government is “investing up to £5 billion to make top-of-the-range speeds available in hard-to-reach communities”.

Today’s announcement follows calls from experts for a return to remote working to curb the rise in cases fueled by the new Omicron variant.

Ministers in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have all advised people to work from home if they can, with England being the only nation in the UK to not follow suit. During a press conference on 30 November, Boris Johnson said that working from home was "not currently necessary". However, access to gigabit broadband could increase productivity if workers choose to work remotely.

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