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Virgin Media broadband figures rise as cable footprint swells – but TV subs cut the cord

People can’t get enough of Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband services, but they’re less bothered about TV subscriptions, the company’s latest financials reveals. 

In the last three months, adjusting for losses, 70,400 customers signed up for one of Virgin’s cable broadband services, which give people top download speeds of 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 200Mbps. 

At the same time, 7,200 customers tore up their pay TV contracts, presumably preferring to stream content from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Now TV and the rest instead of making use of the hundreds of channels Virgin TV has to offer. 

Virgin Media now has 4,765,300 broadband subscribers and 3,719,800 TV customers. Year on year, that’s an increase and decrease of 201,600 and 29,200 respectively. 

Despite being one of the few major ISPs to offer a broadband only service that doesn’t see you having to pay for line rental, Virgin Media’s also noted growth in sign ups for fixed line phone services; 46,800 in the last three months and 133,500 since this time last year. 

Whatever people are using Virgin’s network for, the cable company’s gamely getting on with Project Lightning, passing an extra 69,500 premises in the last quarter. 

Virgin Media’s blitzkrieg network expansion plan, announced over a year ago, aims to see its cable footprint, now a little shy of 13 million premises, grow to cover 17 million addresses by 2019. Virgin says that more than half a million premises will be passed this year. 

On top of this, Virgin’s recently announced that it’s going to roll out FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband to a million new premises as well as expanding its traditional HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable) network. FTTP is capable of delivering greater headline speeds than cable broadband can and will mainly be rolled out to rural areas. 

Last month, Virgin Media’s CEO Tom Mockridge said: “Our £3 billion investment to bring ultrafast connectivity to more parts of the UK is not just about better broadband, it’s about future-proofing the country’s network infrastructure with the best and most modern technology.”

Longer-term, it’s unclear if Virgin Media will replace existing HFC connections with FTTP ones or invest in DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver similar services to cable customers. 

 

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