VMO2 and its parent companies planning new fibre joint venture

31 Jan 2022

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) is reportedly planning to launch a fibre-building joint venture (JV) with parent companies Telefonica and Liberty Global as it seeks to compete with British fixed line incumbent BT in the high speed broadband market. According to The Financial Times Telefonica and Liberty Global are expected to begin contacting potential investors this week, although some informal discussions have already taken place. Separately, Sky News reports that the new JV company will seek a substantial sum from third-party investors, with reports suggesting the external capital injection could eventually total as much as GBP1 billion (USD1.3 billion).

It is understood that the new JV will be separate from VMO2’s plans to upgrade its existing infrastructure – which currently covers around 15.5 million premises – to full fibre by the end of 2028. Instead, the venture will look to build out a new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to provide connectivity to a further seven million homes and businesses, primarily in areas that currently only have access to copper-based services and are served by BT. In addition, it has been suggested that this new infrastructure will be open access, with the possibility for other operators to offer services via it.

Meanwhile, in separate but related news telecoms infrastructure provider Svella Connect has announced it has completed the transfer of contracts with VMO2. In a press release regarding this matter, it was noted that the supply contracts previously held with nmcn – which entered administration in October – had been successfully novated to Svella Connect, the new business created when Svella acquired the telecoms division of nmcn out of administration. Included is the delivery of a framework contract for VMO2 across the Northwest, Yorkshire and East Midlands, which includes construction of new network infrastructure, new business installations, residential installation enablement and the delivery of specific projects to support VMO2 in expanding its national network.