VMO2 has been busy beefing up its networks in Greater Manchester

Virgin Media O2 manchester

UK telco VMO2 has announced a roster of network upgrades deployed across the Greater Manchester Region over the past year or so.

The firm says it has boosted 4G capacity in nearly 20,000 new postcodes in Greater Manchester over the last 12 months, while recently deployed low band 5G spectrum infrastructure means that 57% of the population can now access its 5G services.

It says it has spent £99 million in the region on its broadband network since 2015, connecting an additional 168,000 homes and businesses. Last month it announced it had connected 1,200 homes in Wigan as well.

The firms says this is all part of a collaboration with the government’s levelling up agenda, and that VMO2 was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to connect more than 1,500 public sites to full fibre in the area. As part of the programme, it has also apparently connected 16 homeless shelters, community centres and charities to its network with free connectivity for locals.

“Virgin Media O2 is spearheading the government’s levelling up agenda, via our gigabit broadband rollout and mobile network expansion, and our investment in Greater Manchester is testament to our commitment in the region,” said Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at VMO2 said. “We’re dedicated to bringing the best customer experience to all our customers around the UK, whether that’s superfast network connections or via the donation of digital kit bundles to schools to help reduce the digital divide, as we continue to upgrade the UK.”

Bev Craig, GMCA Lead for Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships, Digital, added: “We welcome Virgin Media O2s announcement and are happy to see significant investment in the Greater Manchester region, which will boost our digital economy. It’s important that we see growth in the digital sector. Throughout the pandemic our people and our businesses relied on communications services more than ever, so it’s great to see that Virgin Media O2 is supporting these areas with next generation connectivity.

“This, coupled with our work to fix the digital divide across the region, are just two examples of ways in which we are ensuring Greater Manchester becomes a world leading digital-city region, a region that puts residents at the heart of our plans.”

The message that VMO2 is working alongside government in order to roll out all this extra connectivity in the region is hammered home pretty hard in the release. However its not clear if that includes any allocated public funds in order to do so and, if not, what the shape the cooperation takes.

Obviously no provider embarks on the expensive project of infrastructure rollout, whether fibre or mobile, out of the goodness of its heart – but perhaps one person’s successfully executed expansion plan is another’s philanthropic mission.


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