Project Lightning and forecast take-up outcomes at the start of 2018

Footprints and forecasts

As Virgin Media progressed through 2017 it started to recover some ground after a rocky start for Project Lightning. 

As in previous updates we’ve been tracking Virgin Media activity, amongst others, over the last year in an attempt to understand their footprint, strategy and outcomes.  This analysis is with particular reference to Project Lightning.

What’s been happening and where?

As Virgin Media progressed through 2017 it started to recover some ground after a rocky start for Project Lightning.  Towards the end of the year they have accelerated somewhat although we expect are still going to be around short of their target for new premises passed for Project Lightning (PL) in 2017.

They’ve mostly kept it metro, areas with population of 1000 pp/sqkm and above, but not exclusively with a sprinkling of acquisition related work and with a few interesting excursions.  You can see the impact of their work to integrate new acquisitions and develop their footprint in our postcode level outputs.  For example here’s the bulk of their Scottish footprint in pink and their activities tracked through 2017 in blue.  The green hatched regions are the metro areas.

Scotland and Virgin Media in 2017

Their adds are consistent with achieving 4 million new premises passed by the end of 2020 based on a polynomial trend.  Other outcomes are possible and it will be challenging to continue to accelerate their footprint growth.  They’ll need to average around a million a year new premises passed, double what they’ve achieved in 2017, to meet their goal by the end of 2020.

PL adds and trends

PL adds and trends

We are assuming 150,000 new premises passed in Q4 2017.

Forecasting take-up and the impact of FTTP

Assuming that Virgin Media do meet their targets for growing their availability footprint we can run a number of scenarios based on varying the opposition they are going to meet from Openreach, City Fibre and the rest of the alt-nets.

It’s a volatile picture with plenty of uncertainties and these versions of the forecasts represent a particular set of assumptions, growth rates are available to subscribers

Scenario 1,2,3 – min, mid, max – coverage and the impact of growth rates on the take-up numbers
Scenario 1:
·         By 2020 – FTTP from Openreach to 2M premises G.fast to 10M.  FTTP/B AltNets manage 5M but with significant overbuild (80%) of other ultrafast (cable, FTTP and G.fast).  Project Lightning gets VM footprint to 17.6M
·         By 2025 – 5M from Openreach for FTTP, 7M Gfast (assumes switchover model from BT – where there is FTTP from them there is no Gfast) 5M from CityFibre/Vodafone and additional 3M from other altnets.  Overbuild at 70% from CF and 80% from other altnets.
Growth rates –
Scenario 2:
·         By 2020 – Openreach FTTP 6M, Gfast 6M. Altnets 5M with 80% overbuild of other ultrafast.  Project Lightning gets VM footprint to 17.6M
·         By 2025 – 8M from Openreach for FTTP, 4M Gfast (assumes switchover model from BT – where there is FTTP from them there is no Gfast) 5M from CityFibre/Vodafone and additional 3M from other altnets.  Overbuild at 70% from CF and 80% from other altnets.
Growth rates –
Scenario 3:
·         By 2020 – Openreach FTTP 10M, Gfast 2M. Altnets 5M with 80% overbuild of other ultrafast.  Project Lightning gets VM footprint to 17.6M
·         By 2025 – 13M from Openreach for FTTP, 1M Gfast (assumes switchover model from BT – where there is FTTP from them there is no Gfast) 6M from CityFibre/Vodafone and additional 4M from other altnets.  Overbuild at 70% from CF and 80% from other altnets.
Growth rates –

These result in the mix we see below.

Take up forecasts scenario 1

Take up forecasts scenario 2

Take up forecasts scenario 3

 

Get access to full report and statistics

Papers are available to UK Plus subscribers – UK Plus service. Full details and postcode level analysis of footprints and take-up as well as forecasts are also available to Broadband geography subscibers. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com

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