Virgin Media has completed the UK’s biggest ever gigabit switch-on with nearly 3 million homes now able to benefit from gigabit speeds in London and across Northern Ireland. 

Residents living in the areas can now make the most of Virgin Media’s Gig1 broadband, which is more than 17 times faster than the national average with speeds of 1,104Mbps.

The launch takes Virgin Media’s total gigabit footprint to 6.8 million homes, representing 45% of its network, and means that more than 16 million people in the UK now have access to this future-proof service. These latest switch-ons are part of Virgin Media’s plan to bring gigabit broadband to its entire network of more than 15 million homes by the end of 2021, helping to deliver more than half of the Government’s longer-term broadband ambition.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The rollout of ultrafast broadband is vital for London’s future: it will create jobs, stimulate growth and give a much-needed boost to businesses at a crucial time.

“As Mayor I’m proud we’re making real progress on London’s worst ‘not-spots’ – including getting mobile coverage on the Underground, starting with the Jubilee Line.

“It’s great news that Virgin Media is continuing to invest in London and ensuring six million Londoners can access gigabit speeds.”

Lutz Schüler, Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“It has never been clearer that our services play a vital role in supporting people’s everyday lives and powering the economy. The nation needs next-generation connectivity and we’re delivering.

“Our ambitious target will see us roll-out gigabit speeds across our entire network of more than 15 million homes by the end of next year. We’re on track to deliver that promise with homes in London and Northern Ireland the latest to gain access to blisteringly-fast Gig1 services.

“As our rollout continues at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else, whatever the future holds, we’re keeping our customers and the country connected to what’s next.”

Continued gigabit rollout

Virgin Media first launched gigabit broadband services in September 2019 and became the UK’s largest gigabit broadband network earlier this year.

Recent analysis by thinkbroadband shows that of the top 20 local authorities for gigabit coverage in the UK, 18 are served by Virgin Media’s Gig1 broadband. The Government has set a target for all UK premises to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025.

The power of Gig1

With Virgin Media’s hyperfast gigabit connection, ultra-high definition 4K films and TV programmes, very large files and videos can be downloaded almost instantaneously, even with multiple devices using the connection simultaneously.

Covid-19 has accelerated moves towards digital technology which will benefit from hyperfast speeds, with research from Virgin Media finding just one in five (19%) home workers wants to return to the office full time. Despite this, nearly half (47%) of home workers have had to turn off their video in a meeting because of poor broadband connectivity, with a third (33%) indicating that colleagues have been late or had to skip a meeting entirely due to connectivity issues.

Over the first 10 weeks of lockdown, Virgin Media households downloaded an extra 325GB of data on average, making use of their ultrafast speeds.

Virgin Media’s gigabit-capable network

Virgin Media has the largest gigabit-capable network in the UK which currently passes more than 15 million UK premises. The network consists of both fibre-rich cable and full fibre connected directly to the premises, both of which can provide customers with gigabit speeds. Upgrades to the network mean that Virgin Media has been able to introduce the gigabit service without needing to excavate roads and streets to install new cables.

Virgin Media’s gigabit network is now available in areas across the UK, including Southampton, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow, as well as London and across Northern Ireland.

Virgin Media, through its Project Lightning programme, is also continuing to expand its ultrafast network to more homes and businesses across the UK with 2.4 million premises passed since the project began.