Project Lightning strikes: Virgin buys Waterford cable firm

28 May 2018

Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Image: Adzik/Shutterstock

Virgin’s stealthy next-generation fibre broadband roll-out in Ireland gains pace.

Virgin Media’s quiet and steady roll-out of fibre to Ireland’s regions has accelerated in the south-east with the news that the cable giant has acquired Casey Cablevision for an undisclosed sum.

Casey Cablevision is a family-owned regional cable TV and broadband operator that was established in 1979.

‘The Casey family were true pioneers of the cable industry in Ireland. They were the first to invest in fibre optic cabling’

Future Human

The company provides pay TV, high-speed broadband and phone services to more than 2,000 customers in Dungarvan and surrounding areas.

“By joining Ireland’s leading connected entertainment provider, Casey Cablevision’s existing customers in Dungarvan will have access to the full suite of Virgin Media’s award-winning products and services,” said Paul Farrell, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media Ireland.

Farrell also hinted at further expansion of fibre services in the south-east. “At Virgin Media, we pride ourselves on having the fastest broadband network in Ireland and we’re very excited about extending the full range of our TV, broadband, phone and mobile services to consumers and businesses in Dungarvan.”

A vision for cable

In recent months, while Ireland has grappled with the highs and lows of its National Broadband Plan and the takeover of Eir by Xavier Niel’s NJJ-led consortium, Virgin Media has been quietly working on its own fibre strategy for regional Ireland.

Virgin Media has a €4bn plan called Project Lightning, which aims to bring 4m homes in the UK and Ireland into the 1Gbps sphere – or the GigaWorld, as it calls it.

Farrell recently explained to that Virgin Media prefers to work incrementally on its regional strategy, only revealing infrastructure developments when they are in place.

A key reason for this is that the company has to compete with other divisions of its parent company, Liberty Global, for investment projects. So, stealth is key.

“The Casey family were true pioneers of the cable industry in Ireland. They were the first to invest in fibre optic cabling, which allowed them to offer high-speed broadband to customers in the south-east when the provision of such services was a distant dream for Irish consumers and businesses,” Farrell explained.

“We look forward to working with our new colleagues in Casey Cablevision and delivering new opportunities for growth and expansion in the region.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years