VM hikes UK broadband average
Virgin Media was responsible for more than half the rise in the UK’s average broadband speed, Ofcom told Br0kenTeleph0n3 today.
Ofcom senior telecommunications analyst Nick Collins said VM has been doubling the speeds of its customers, and this was mainly responsible for the national average broadband speed rising one-third from 9.oMbps to 12.0Mbps in the six months to December 2012.
Collins said the national average reflected a combination of headline speeds and market share. He said these data were confidential as they contained competitively sensitive information. He confirmed that Ofcom looks at these figures in assessing the national average, but does not publish them.
VM’s acceleration programme will end towards the middle of the year, Collins said. At that point growth in the national average is likely to depend mainly on the take-up rate of BT’s Infinity fibre to the cabinet product, which will dilute VM’s influence on the figure.
In February US cable TV firm Liberty Global agreed to buy VM for around $23.3bn. The deal will create a multinational broadband company that covers 45 million homes and serves 25 million customers. Around 80% of its estimated $17bn sales will come from the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
VM’s skills in mobile telephony and B2B networking were cited as key to the future growth of the group. VM CEO Neil Berkett, who will leave the company, said the combined company will be able to grow faster and more profitably by capitalising on the “exciting opportunities” that the digital revolution presents in the UK and across Europe.