Virgin Media considers opening up its fibre networks to UK ISPs

DCL Search


Virgin Media is considering opening up its full fibre networks to a host of internet service providers, in a move that would greatly expedite the roll out of ultrafast services across the UK. 

A report suggests that Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, is considering whether to allow ISPs to access its networks for wholesale rates. Currently the UK’s ISP’s, such as Sky, rely entirely on Openreach’s fibre network. The report suggests that Sky’s senior management team has approached Virgin Media as it looks to increase its market reach. 

Virgin Media’s cable networks cover approximately 50 per cent of UK households, reaching 14.4 million homes. 

The move would mean Openreach would face competition on the wholesale side of its business for the first time. 

The decision to offer wholesale rates to ISPs on its networks would dramatically alter Virgin Media’s business model in the UK, which currently relies on it having a monopoly on its ultrafast networks. 

Virgin Media has embarked on its £3 billion Project Lightning which will see the company extend its reach to 17 million UK properties.


How 5G Networks Will Benefit State and Local Agencies

State Tech Magazine

Next-generation wireless networks will enhance services in smart cities and public safety.

5G is coming very soon. The fifth generation of cellular technology promises to deliver speeds 10 times faster than 4G LTE wireless networks and cut latency to milliseconds. Not only will speeds be fast but network delays are expected to be extremely few, which should be a boon for city, county and state governments that want to use 5G to power Internet of Things sensors.

5G is expected to enhance mobility services in smart cities and for public safety agencies. “The capacity, speed and latency of 5G service makes it perfect for IoT and smart cities solutions, making objects like light poles, pavement and traffic signals smarter,” Sean Harrington, Verizon’s vice president for city solutions, tells StateTech.

In addition to enabling new applications for smart cities, 5G is also expected to enable a wide range of benefits for first responders, including real-time analytics of video surveillance, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, traffic management and other public safety functions. 

Digital Norm is helping Dorset residents to get faster broadband

Dorset Echo

A friendly new face is showing people in Dorset how easy it is to get better broadband.

Digital Norm has been developed by the Superfast Dorset programme. His family switches to superfast broadband and saves money at the same time. ‘Norm’ has been appearing in town centres, local newspapers, on council buses and social media. And there’s an online animation showing how Norm and his family transform their home WiFi.

More than 97 per cent of Dorset premises can now get superfast fibre broadband and over half of homes and businesses have already switched, making it the norm in Dorset. These faster, more reliable connections mean everyone can be online at the same time, quicker downloads, TV and films on demand and video calling without the annoying lag. But the uplift in speeds isn’t automatic – you must contact your internet provider and ask to switch to fibre broadband. Superfast Dorset won Government funding to create the Digital Norm campaign including the short film, which can be seen at

The week in govtech: the biggest tenders and awards (9/4/19)

New Statesman

This is the latest instalment of an exclusive series analysing the UK’s biggest public sector tech deals. Every week, in partnership with data analysis firm Tussell, we drill down into the most valuable tenders and awards from the last seven days. Here’s what we found this week…


The biggest tender of the week comes from Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which is looking to build an electronic prescriptions system. The deadline for applications is 29 April and the framework is worth £49m.

  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust – EPrescribing and Medicines Administration (“EPMA”) System – £49m
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (NI) – Provision of ICT Services and Solutions – £12.5m
  • Fife Council – Provision of a leisure booking system – £10m
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland – Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP) and Associated Services – £8m
  • Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service – Integrated Communication Control System and Mobilisation Solution – £3m

Prior information notices

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has launched its version of the local full fibre network programme, an initiative designed to upgrade local authorities’ broadband connections. As part of the project, GMCA is seeking a supplier to provide a minimum of 20 year right of use dark fibre connectivity. The deal is worth £35m.

  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority – Greater Manchester Local Full Fibre Network Programme – £35m
  • Anglian Water Services Limited – Supply of Technical Resources for Emerging and Niche Technologies (Service) – £6.9m
  • NHS Digital – IT Service Management System – £3m
  • Wrexham County Borough Council – WCBC’s Apple Solution Partner for Education – £250k
  • Leicester City Council – Online Booking, E-learning & Management Solution Pre-Market Engagement – £175k


The outsourcing giant Capgemini has won one of the largest contracts of the week: a £9.2m deal to provide the Ministry of Justice with product management expertise to support the government’s £1bn courts reform project. The contract started in December and will last for two years,

  • NHS Calderdale CCG – Information Technology and Networking Services – £23.2m
  • HM Revenue & Customs – HMRC Messaging – Agile delivery and live support of service orientated components – £20m
  • Northamptonshire Police – Evidence examination and analysis – £20m
  • Department of Finance (NI) – Digital Toolkit Support and Development – £11m
  • Ministry of Justice – HMCTS Reform – Technical Digital Product Management – £9.2m

Employees sceptical about attitudes of employers to digital transformation

Workplace Insight

More than half of employees are confused about the true meaning of ‘digital transformation’ and have a high degree of scepticism about their employers’ appetite for digital innovation, a new poll suggests.

The research into employees’ attitudes toward digital transformation, innovation and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, conducted by YouGov amongst employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees, on behalf of Cherwell Software, found that 57 percent of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’: 20 percent of respondents couldn’t hazard a guess at its meaning and 12 percent thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

The research findings go some way to explain why the 2018  Dell Digital Transformation Index placed the UK in 17th place in its adoption of digital transformation, lagging way behind emerging countries like India, Brazil and Thailand.

“It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” said Oliver Krebs, vice president of EMEA sales for Cherwell.  “Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global market place will be severely compromised.”

Over half of workers don’t understand what digital transformation is

IT Portal

Some think it’s about making work paperless.

For some workers in the UK, digital transform is still a complete mystery, new research has found.

A survey from Cherwell Software on a pool of 500 businesses with 50 or more employees found that some workers simply don’t know what it is, and others think it has something to do with transforming the office into a paperless environment.

But it’s not just employees who are sometimes clueless about digital transformation, its meaning and its purpose. It’s also employers. The majority of employees (64 per cent) say their employers only adopt new technology once it already enters mainstream adoption.

Less than one in ten are considered ‘digital innovators’, being the early birds in the digital transformation effort.

Civil Service World

Civil Service World hosted a webinar briefing to learn more about how smarter networks like software-defined networking in a wide area network, or SD-WAN, can lower costs, improve operational efficiency, and create a new citizen experience.

At its most basic level, SD-WAN is a technology that typically sits on top of networks. Realistically, its main role is to look from the application down. What SD-WAN technology gives us is the ability to bring networks together – to look at them from a user perspective and organisational perspective – and start to look at how traffic is shaped, how traffic is used, what happens when network states change, and really make sure that an application experience is built. That’s “Intelligent Connectivity”.

In the past, the way we did this would be to look at things from the network up. We’d build a network with an amount of capacity and then ensure as best we could from the network configuration that the user and application experience was optimal. SD-WAN has approached that from the other side. It’s a technology that gives visibility and control, and is far more dynamic than what we’ve had in the past.

Public Technology

Jason Kitcat has got rid of digital strategies and teams and introduced in a single function devoted to service change

Jason Kitcat has a radical approach to digital delivery in local government. At Essex county council, he has done away with digital strategies and digital teams – he thinks the word ‘digital’ is overused and meaningless, anyway – by integrating a range of disciplines into a single function focused on change.

“In my view, the culture, practice, tools and techniques of the internet age should be a mainstream part of how any organisation addresses its strategic objectives and challenges,” says Kitcat, who joined who joined Essex in 2017 as executive director of corporate development.

“Having a digital team or strategy, or innovation team, and all that stuff, essentially gets the rest of the organisation off the hook. It makes them think it’s not their job. Special people will deal with it. So my inclination was to mainstream it as much as possible.”

A Quarter of Brits Willing to Fund Smart City Solutions

Business News Wales

New research has found an increasing appetite for smart city measures that aim to tackle urbanisation problems, such as congestion and security issues, with almost a quarter (24%) of Brits even saying they would be happy to fund these solutions using part of their own tax contributions.

The study of 1,000 people, conducted by ATG Access, found that this willingness rises substantially when it comes to funding measures which improve transport infrastructure. More than half (57%) would be happy for their tax to go towards smart traffic lights, and 44% for smarter signs which give real-time traffic updates.

Nearly a quarter (24%) said they would also be willing to fund smart barriers that help with incident management.

Investment in the smart city concept looks set to grow, with global spending expected to hit $135 billion by 2021. However, uptake in the UK has thus far been relatively slow with cost often cited as an issue.