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Virgin Media O2 reaches major milestone with 150 Shared Rural Network sites deployed

Virgin Media O2 Business Stand: 4/G110
  • Virgin Media O2 has hit another significant milestone in its work to deliver the Shared Rural Network (SRN) after rolling out reliable 4G coverage to 150 rural communities
  • The remote Isle of Eigg became the 150th site delivered by Virgin Media O2, a landmark welcomed by Julia Lopez, Minister of state for Data and Digital Infrastructure
  • The operator’s rapid SRN rollout continues, with dozens more sites set to go live in the coming weeks

Virgin Media O2 has reached a major milestone in its Shared Rural Network (SRN) rollout, as the Isle of Eigg became the operator’s 150th site to benefit from improved 4G coverage. These new and upgraded sites are providing residents, businesses and visitors in rural areas with faster and more reliable mobile connectivity than ever before.

Virgin Media O2 has gone further than any other operator to date to deliver new infrastructure as part of the SRN programme. While these 150 sites are controlled by Virgin Media O2, customers of Three and Vodafone are also benefitting from the operator’s extensive rollout. Taking into account progress from all operators, Virgin Media O2’s customers can now benefit from reliable 4G services at more than 200 rural locations.

The remote, community-owned Isle of Eigg, which has a population of less than 100, became the 150th site to benefit from improved mobile connectivity after Virgin Media O2 used boats, helicopters and off-road vehicles to install a new 4G mast on the island.  The island previously had coverage from just one provider so the upgrade offers residents choice and will help many visitors stay connected for the first time.

The SRN is a £1billion joint initiative between mobile network operators and the UK Government to extend 4G connectivity to 95% of the UK’s landmass by the end of 2025.

Of the 150 rural sites that have been built or upgraded by Virgin Media O2 so far, 117 are in some of Scotland’s most remote areas, including Shetland, Ardross, and Argyll & Bute. A further 28 are in rural parts of England, including parts of Yorkshire, Suffolk and Kent, while three sites have been upgraded in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.

The upgrades provide customers with faster and more reliable mobile data and higher quality voice calls, transforming coverage in areas that previously suffered from patchy or slow services.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are continuing our Shared Rural Network rollout at pace to ensure more rural communities can access reliable mobile connectivity. Having delivered more sites than any other operator, our commitment to delivering this ambitious programme and levelling up rural areas is clear.”

“The 150 sites we have delivered will enable more residents, businesses and visitors in rural areas to benefit from better mobile coverage, with dozens more locations set to go live in the coming weeks. This work is vital in tackling the urban-rural digital divide that exists in the UK.”

Julia Lopez, Minister of state for Data and Digital Infrastructure, said: “Backed by government funding, Virgin Media O2’s rapid rollout of the Shared Rural Network is delivering better 4G coverage to rural communities across the UK.

“The completion of its 150th mast in the Isle of Eigg in Scotland involved the use of helicopters, boats and off-road vehicles to get the build done and shows the UK Government’s commitment to rural residents and businesses, so the British public can enjoy good connectivity wherever they live.”

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