Michael Leckie / Virgin Media

Virgin Media Business Wholesale launches new National High Capacity Services core network

Enhanced high-bandwidth, ultra-low-latency core platform launched for National High Capacity Services network to enable simpler, faster delivery of services and improve customer experience

Virgin Media Business Wholesale has launched an enhanced core platform for National High Capacity Services (NHCS).

Part of the Project Spark multimillion-pound investment programme to transform its 10Gbps portfolio, the project also marks the first stage of a bigger programme of work between the fixed wholesale connectivity arm of Virgin Media O2 Business and networking systems provider Ciena.

Virgin Media Business Wholesale’s NHCS offering uses the Virgin Media O2 fixed optical network to provide high-bandwidth, ultra-low-latency connectivity with no distance limitations, said the company. The new NHCS core network is designed to provide an alternative way of provisioning these services, while retaining all key attributes of the existing NHCS service. It is based on dedicated switched Ethernet technology, delivered over an optical platform, with steadfast bandwidth and following a fixed network path end-to-end. 

Virgin Media Business Wholesale already operates a national layer 1 optical platform, which has historically served all NHCS services. The new platform is an overlay to the existing network that allows for quicker, easier and more intelligent delivery of NHCS services. It will support the wider deployment of 10Gbps services for businesses and industry, as part of the company’s commitment to evolving its services to meet user needs and deliver an improved customer experience.

The existing NHCS services operate at more than 300 sites, providing connectivity to over 150 datacentres. This national wavelength connectivity service is intended to continue to be a critical component within the company’s HCS portfolio, meeting the demands of customers with speed requirements exceeding 10Gbps or those needing communication protocols other than Ethernet. 

The first 14 sites for the new core network are now live across the UK, including four datacentres – Equinix MA1 (Manchester), Equinix LD5 (Slough), Interxion Sovereign House (London) and Telehouse East (London). This roll-out includes expansion to more datacentre locations across the UK, including brand new diverse fibre routes and network platforms at the new Equinix flagship site, Manchester MA5, which is expected to go live early 2023. As Project Spark gathers pace, the new network build will continue, with hundreds more sites being added in 2023 and into 2024.

The launch of our new National High Capacity Services core network is set to provide our partners with quicker and simpler provisioning to help improve their customer experience,” said Diego Tedesco, wholesale fixed director at Virgin Media O2 Business. “I am very excited to bring this enhanced capability to our partners. It’s a major milestone in our Project Spark investment programme, and now the first sites are live, we are focusing on rolling out our 10Gbps portfolio to many more locations, delivered faster and through greater automation.

“This new core platform is just the start. We have many more exciting projects expected to launch later this year and into 2023, including Metro 10Gbps access network upgrades. All of this adds up to a huge overhaul of our network capabilities – so our valued wholesale partners benefit from 10Gbps at even more locations and a simple, speedy and accurate one-touch provisioning process end-to-end.”

Ciena’s WaveLogic coherent optical technology is seeing use in the enhanced NHCS core network capability, enabling network scalability, flexibility and turn-up of new services. Ciena is also working with Virgin Media Business Wholesale on its go-to-market strategy from ideation to execution.

Will Rhodes, CMS consultant at Ciena, said: “The launch of the new NHCS core network reaffirms Virgin Media Business Wholesale as a leader in delivering high-capacity fixed communication services to providers and wholesale customers across the UK. Together, we will identify new opportunities across various market segments and show the crucial value and benefits that NHCS can bring to customers through faster, simpler and more enhanced services.” 

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