Virgin Media to invest €200m in full fibre broadband across Ireland

4 Nov 2021

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Minister Eamon Ryan said the move will help place Ireland at the forefront of the EU in gigabit connectivity.

Virgin Media Ireland is upgrading its national broadband network of more than 1m premises to full fibre, enabling speeds of up to 10Gbps.

A €200m investment will see the Virgin Media broadband network transition to full fibre from early 2022. This will significantly increase internet speeds from the 1Gbps Virgin Media announced across its network last year.

Virgin Media said it has already successfully piloted its new full fibre upgrade on 500 premises with up to 10Gbps speeds, which it will now extend to more than 1m homes and businesses. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

The telecom giant hopes the investment will bolster Ireland’s connectivity needs and accelerate digital transformation for the public and organisations across the country. “We’re committed to innovating for our customers and investing in Ireland’s long-term digital future,” said CEO Tony Hanway.

Ireland connectivity ‘at forefront’ of EU

Liberty Global bought Virgin Media in 2013 and moved its UPC Ireland business under the brand in 2015. In the first half of 2021, Virgin Media Ireland saw data usage on its network rise by 91pc compared to the previous half-year, while revenue grew by 3pc over the same period.

“Continued investments by commercial operators such as this bring benefits for consumers,” said Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, TD. “Together with the Government’s investment under the National Broadband Plan, this will place Ireland at the forefront of EU countries in terms of gigabit connectivity.”

Virgin Media also said that it will provide wholesale access to its fibre network to third-party service providers.

It indicated that the whole project would create 500 jobs, although details have not been published yet.

The company added 5,000 new broadband subscribers earlier this year and said more customers were switching to its flagship 1GB package, which is available to 99pc of the country.

It also added 22,500 new TV subscribers with its own suite of four channels growing by 11pc year on year to make up 18.2pc of subscribers’ total viewing, on average. In the same period, Virgin Mobile added 19,900 new subscribers.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic