According to reports in the Financial Times, Virgin Media is considering selling its UK non-cable broadband business, which would put BT, Sky, TalkTalk and EE in the frame as bidders. While Virgin Media spokespeople have declined to comment, Financial Times reports that information packs have been sent out to prospective buyers.
BT and Sky, the two biggest UK ISPs by subscriber size, could snap up Virgin Media’s customers to extend their lead over the market or TalkTalk or EE could use them to get a leg up. If TalkTalk were to buy Virgin’s National Broadband customers that could see its subscriber base jump to 4.2 million, inching just behind Virgin Media’s current 4.5 million base. If a sale were to take place, it’s likley that some National Broadband customers would take their money elsewhere. After Sky acquired O2 and Be Broadband, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 customers are thought to have left Sky. Source
Virgin Media’s fibre optic network is available to 12.5m UK homes. Not competing on content rights with BT and Sky, Virgin Media instead has focused on its ability to deliver video on demand across multiple devices and higher broadband speeds.
The slower broadband customers are a legacy of Virgin’s ambition to offer home phone and broadband services to areas where it does not have the cable network to provide higher speeds. The National service uses BT’s copper broadband infrastructure, which offers speeds far below the fibre services from Virgin Media. Virgin Media’s entry-level broadband package is now 50Mb, while it offers broadband speeds of up to 152Mb at the top end, which it claims is twice as fast as the retail offers from BT or other competitors. Source
Image: Virgin Media