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Virgin Media connections spike as Project Lightning takes hold

Virgin Media adds a record number of subscribers to its platform in the first quarter of 2016

Cable and broadband supplier Virgin Media has added a record number of customers in the UK during the first quarter of 2016, as customer churn decreases and its Project Lightning upgrade plan begins to bear fruit.

Virgin added 48,000 organic net customers during the first three months of the year, compared with 5,000 year-on-year, and delivered 55,000 net customers in the UK during the period.

Organic revenue generating unit (RGU) additions increased to 93,000, compared with 16,000 in the prior-year period. Virgin attributed this to superior bundles and new network build.

The firm now supplies broadband, television and telephony services to 5.6 million households in the UK, and has 3 million subscribers on its mobile virtual network.

It said it was on-track to add more than 500,000 Project Lightning premises in the UK in 2016, having enabled 70,000 properties this year to date.

At the end of April 2016, it announced it was planning to enable a full fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) service to around a million of the four million properties targeted by Project Lightning.

It also launched an initiative to stimulate interest and awareness of the programme, inviting communities to rally together to register interest in the service. It hopes to prioritise its future network build based on levels of interest received.

“Demand remains strong and we are continuing to work closely with our partners to ensure a smooth and efficient process from planning through build, sales and installation,” said Virgin Media in a statement.

Rebased revenue in the first quarter came in at £1.18bn, up 4% year-on-year, while operating income was down from £97m this time last year to £89m.

Meanwhile, sales at business to business (B2B) division Virgin Media Business rose 4.4% to £163.2m, following a major marketing campaign around its 300Mbps broadband service for small businesses and home offices.

Its TechCity fibre proposition, which launched in Manchester and London in 2015, was also extended into Birmingham with positive results, it said.

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications

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