It is understood the parent company is considering going even further on the back of encouraging take-up of Virgin Media services in areas where previously broadband was only available via BT’s network. In its most recent results, the operator reported its strongest customer gains since 2008.
No decisions have been made, however, amid continued uncertainty over reforms of Openreach, BT’s network division, by Ofcom, the industry watchdog. It aims to encourage broadband operators dependant on BT’s network – Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone – to invest in their own infrastructure.
That could weaken the case for Liberty Global to sink more money into laying new cables, sources said. Virgin Media has argued against the most radical options for reforming Openreach, such as separating it from BT entirely, which Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have claimed would enable them to invest in infrastructure.
As well as seeking to expand its cable network, Virgin Media is also understood to be close to a takeover designed to improve its Wi-Fi coverage. It is in advanced talks to acquire Arqiva’s loss-making Wi-Fi business, according to City sources. Arqiva is seeking to off-load the unit, which runs thousands of hotspots around the country.
Liberty Global, Virgin Media and Arqiva declined to comment.