Virgin Media O2 UK extends broadband to former OFNL sites

ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that their partnership with Open Fiber Networks Limited (OFNL/GTC/BUUK) is being extended which will allow them to extend their competing gigabit broadband, TV and telephony network to cover UK homes at some of the existing (older) sites of the operator.

In the spring (here), we revealed to you that a new partnership with GTC had enabled Virgin Media, via a double layer network (i.e. separate fiber cables laid in a single conduit), to deliver their full fiber service to homes at new construction sites being developed through the OFNL conduit infrastructure. But this only impacted the new contracts that were signed with GTC from November 2021.

However, the free access of the OFNL Fiber to the premises (FTTP), which also provides Sky’s TV services via their fiber optic infrastructure, currently covers over 50,000 premises across the UK and most of these have been rolled out before November 2021. Consumers who users of this service generally sign up for it through anyone. from several compatible ISPs (e.g. Direct Save Telecom, Seethelight, etc.).

As such, the decision to allow Virgin Media to run its own fiber optic cables in the same conduit as originally deployed by OFNL (each network will use its own fibers) was significant, which meant that consumers could finally benefit from real competition at the level of the infrastructure and the choice of the related ISP. At the same time, GTC utility solutions would become more attractive to property developers and potential buyers.

However, the significance of all of this was somewhat hampered by the fact that it only applied to recent builds and not the existing domain of OFNL, but that is about to change. Some of our readers from former OFNL sites recently informed us that they had received flyers promoting the future arrival of the service from Virgin Media and, after asking about it, they were told that it would be available in about 2-3 months. VMO2 has just confirmed it.

A VMO2 spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“As we continue to expand our network and modernize the UK, we are working with partners to bring more choice to households through our partnership with Open Fiber Networks. We have recently extended this agreement which will accelerate plans to to bring our gigabit network to even more homes across the country.”

The caveat here is that Virgin Media clarified that they wouldn’t necessarily build their gigabit-capable broadband network for “everything” OFNL’s existing sites, but they now have this option and are already clearly expanding in some of them. We strongly suspect that Virgin will focus on sites that are already next to one of their existing networks.

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