‘Red tape’ delaying broadband, says Virgin Media

Virgin Media, the internet and TV provider, has claimed too much “red-tape” is holding up the roll out of rural broadband.

‘Red tape’ delaying broadband, says Virgin Media

The cable firm — which also owns TV3 — said the delayed National Broadband Plan promoted by the Government has too many legal complications.

Virgin Media is not one of the three bidders for the national broadband contract, a Government-driven programme that aims to deliver high-speed broadband in three to five years involving a major rollout across the country.

Three bidders — Eir, Siro, and Enet — entered the tendering process to be granted the contract to roll out the programme. A decision is expected later this year.

However, the delayed programme has come under fire in recent times by business and political leaders.

Virgin Media, whose parent group is John Malone’s €22.9bn stock market-listed Liberty Global, said its Irish revenues rose 2% to €102m in the three months to the end of June from a year earlier.

The increase was due to its acquisition of broadcaster UTV Ireland, which it merged with TV3, but was also due to “continued growth” in its mobile phone services and its corporate business, it said.

Figures from Liberty Global show that at the end of June it had 296,500 video or TV subscribers in the Republic, down by 1,400 from a year earlier.

Its internet subscribers had risen by 1,700 to 366,100 over the same period, while mobile subscribers had risen sharply, by 12,600 to 40,500.

Its so-called RGUs — or revenue generating units — in Ireland rose 1,300 to just over 1.01 million in the period.

“Our Irish RGU performance returned to positive territory with improvements across all products due to our latest spring campaign,” Liberty Global said.

US-based Liberty Global is the biggest broadband provider in Europe and is active in more than 30 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Its brands include Virgin Media in Ireland and Britain and UPC in Switzerland and Austria.

Across Europe, it added 162,000 RGUs “as softer broadband and voice growth was partially offset by better video trends”.

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