Virgin Media completes network expansion in Pontyclun with first use of Ofcom duct access initiative in Wales

01 April 2019

Virgin Media has connected more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Pontyclun

Openreach ducts were used for the first time in Wales to complete build

Local residents and business can now experience broadband speeds 11 times faster than the local average

Virgin Media has completed its ultrafast broadband expansion in Pontyclun, South Wales, with its first ever use of Openreach ducts in Wales, helping to connect more than 2,000 homes and businesses with full fibre directly to premises.

As part of its ‘Project Lightning’ programme, Virgin Media is expanding its ultrafast broadband network across the UK to bring speeds of up to 362Mbps to more residents and small businesses.

Cabling an area with fibre is a complex engineering task and Pontyclun provided some build challenges, especially when attempting to carry out expansion works close to bridges.

To overcome these issues Virgin Media made use of existing Openreach cable ducts as part of Ofcom’s Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) remedy. This allows other broadband builders to use Openreach ducts, which are the tubes broadband cables run through underground.

This is the first time Virgin Media has used this regulatory remedy in Wales which was recently revamped by Ofcom to make it easier to build new broadband infrastructure and spur greater network competition.

A large proportion of the build that used Openreach ducting was carried out close to a bridge crossing that connects Llantrisant Road and Cowbridge Road in Pontyclun.

Last year in Stallingborough, Lincolnshire, Virgin Media trialled the use of an Openreach trunk duct to go under a railway line. The use of PIA helps minimise disruption, speed up build times and reduce the costs of expansion.

This fast, reliable connectivity from Virgin Media will help transform the quality of broadband in Pontyclun where the average download speed is 32.4Mbps*. With a 362Mbps connection, files, films and games become unbelievably quick to stream, share and download

·        Download a standard HD movie file (5GB) in two minutes, compared to more than 20 minutes on the average local connection;

·        Download a 25GB console game in 10 minutes, compared to more than one hour and 50 minutes on the average local connection.**

Customers will also feel the power of Intelligent WiFi, Virgin Media’s recently announced in-home broadband service. It’s a series of new WiFi updates that will give millions of its customers complete control of their WiFi and provide the UK’s fastest widely available broadband speeds in more areas of their home.

Intelligent WiFi on the Hub 3 router is a smart system that adapts to the needs of the home and the devices that are connected to WiFi. It is made up of many features that work side-by-side to ensure that the best WiFi performance is being delivered.

Alan Bristow, Build Director for South of England and South Wales at Virgin Media, said: “Local residents and businesses in Pontyclun can now reap the benefits of the UK’s fastest widely available broadband speeds. Making use of Openreach ducts has helped to make this build possible and give the local area faster, more reliable, connectivity.

We will consider using their ducts again so that more areas of the UK get a much deserved broadband boost from Virgin Media.”

Virgin Media’s gigabit-ready lines will mean residents can also sign up to Virgin TV and benefit from the latest entertainment on its 4k-ready V6 set-top box.  This is on top of great programming with up to 260 TV channels (including up to 50 HD channels) and all the football from Sky Sports and BT Sport.

Virgin Media also offers Sky Movies and Netflix, as well as an extensive on demand library of TV box sets and movies; giving customers seamless access to the TV they want, all in one place.

Residents can also benefit from Virgin Mobile’s fast 4G connectivity, which for pay monthly customers includes data free Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter, as well as the ability to rollover unused data each month and have truly unlimited data packages.

For those interested in Virgin Media’s services, more information on bundles and the latest deals is available online >


Notes to Editors

*The average (median) broadband speed in Rhondda Cynon Taf is 32.4Mbps. Source: Ofcom, Connected Nations Report 2018, published 18 December 2018.

** Download speeds calculated using