Virgin Media O2 expands Shared Rural Network rolling out 150th site

Virgin Media O2, as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) strategy, has rolled out 150th site in order to enhance 4G coverage to residents, businesses and visitors.
Julia LopezThough Virgin Media O2 is controlling these 150 sites, mobile customers of Three and Vodafone are also benefitting from the operator’s rollout. Virgin Media O2’s customers can now benefit from 4G services at more than 200 rural locations.

Virgin Media O2 used boats, helicopters and off-road vehicles to install a new 4G mast on the Isle of Eigg island, which has a population of less than 100. The island previously had coverage from one provider so the upgrade offers residents choice and will help many visitors stay connected for the first time.

The Shared Rural Network initiative with an investment of £1 billion is spearheaded by mobile network operators and the UK Government to extend 4G connectivity to 95 percent of the UK by the end of 2025.

Virgin Media O2 has built or upgraded 117 of 150 rural sites in Scotland’s most remote areas, including Shetland, Ardross, and Argyll & Bute. Virgin Media O2 has also built or upgraded 28 sites in rural parts of England, including parts of Yorkshire, Suffolk and Kent. Virgin Media O2 has upgraded three sites in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.

“The 150 sites we have delivered will enable more residents, businesses and visitors in rural areas to benefit from better mobile coverage, with dozens more locations set to go live in the coming weeks. This work is vital in tackling the urban-rural digital divide that exists in the UK,” Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said.

Julia Lopez, Minister of state for Data and Digital Infrastructure, said: “Backed by government funding, Virgin Media O2’s rapid rollout of the Shared Rural Network is delivering better 4G coverage to rural communities across the UK.”