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This research note discusses Virgin Media's recent announcement about Project Lightning, its £3bn investment in order to expand its broadband footprint.


  • This footprint extension will help Virgin Media to gain scale and be more competitive with its consolidated service provider peers, especially BT. It will also help it to extend its 152Mbps speed advantage to a larger area of the UK.
  • This expansion will take its network to a larger serving area but by and large with the same top-tier speed of 152Mbps. But it is only with DOCSIS 3.1 that Virgin will be able to take on BT’s planned G.Fast. Those plans are still in the making.
  • Virgin did say that it would also deploy some FTTP - which is capable of supporting higher-speed tiers. Of its expanded footprint in 2020, it expects 1 million homes and small businesses to be connected by FTTP.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyzes Virgin Media's announcement about its broadband network expansion and the drivers behind it.
  • Discusses the competitive environment and proposed consolidation in UK that is driving network-upgrade announcements.

Key questions answered

  • Why is Virgin Media expanding its broadband network? What technologies is it going to utilize? What about FTTP and DOCSIS 3.1?
  • What will be the impact of this expansion for Virgin? Can it stay competitive with BT?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Focus on broadband and its benefits in UK; also a response to ongoing consolidation
  • Significant HFC network expansion for Virgin Media; enables it to take 152Mbps to more of UK
  • Higher speeds will come with DOCSIS 3.1 still being tested


  • Further reading
  • Author

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