Virgin expands reach through National Broadband Ireland deal

17 Jun 2024

NBI CEO Peter Hendrick and Virgin Media Ireland CEO Tony Hanway. Image: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Virgin Media said more than 1.4m premises across Ireland are able to access its broadband services, while NBI said there are now 70 retail service providers on its network.

Virgin Media has agreed to a network deal with National Broadband Ireland (NBI), in a bid to boost its market share across the country.

The deal will see Virgin’s broadband and digital TV services become available to more than 254,000 premises that are currently enabled and connected to NBI’s network. NBI is the company responsible for delivering Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.

Virgin Media said the latest deal means more than 1.4m premises across Ireland are able to access its broadband services. The company said this figure has grown thanks to this and other wholesale network access developments.

“Our full fibre broadband network is designed to revolutionise the way we connect and experience the digital world,” said Virgin Media Ireland CEO Tony Hanway. “This announcement today with NBI brings our ultrafast broadband and TV services to even more premises across Ireland, enabling homes, businesses, communities and regions nationwide to further prosper and grow.”

Last year, Virgin announced a wholesale deal with Sky Ireland, to give its customers access to Virgin’s fibre broadband network to improve existing services. Virgin Media is also in the process of upgrading its network to full fibre, through a €200m investment it announced in 2021.

Virgin said it recently upgraded more than 281,000 premises to fibre, offering speeds of 2Gbps across its own network.

NBI CEO Peter Hendrick said there are now 70 retail service providers on the company’s network to provide “huge choice for anyone connecting to high-speed fibre”.

“Our roll-out will ensure that every home, farm and business in Ireland has access to high-speed broadband with minimum speeds of 500Mbps available,” Hendrick said.

The National Broadband Plan aims to connect more than 1.1m people across 564,000 homes, businesses, farms and schools in Ireland where commercial operators do not currently provide high-speed connectivity.

Last month, NBI claimed the project is on track to pass 300,000 premises by the end of the year. But the company has been criticised in the past for delays and has changed its targets multiple times.

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic