Virgin Media O2 invests millions to upgrade connectivity across Yorkshire

An image of the city of Sheffield on a red and blue Virgin Media O2 branded background
Virgin Media O2
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
13 December 2022

Virgin Media O2 has announced a host of network upgrades, investment and digital inclusion initiatives across Yorkshire to support the home of the UK’s fastest growing digital industry. 

More than 50% of the Yorkshire population can now access 5G provided by Virgin Media O2 in 100 locations, including Sheffield, Leeds, York and Wakefield. Access to superfast network speeds and capacity means residents can better stream their favourite TV shows and movies, work remotely and on the go, video call friends and family, and play games online. 

Recent research by Virgin Media O2 shows that 85% of northerners believe access to the internet is essential to living their life. The company has also invested in significantly upgrading its 4G network, the backbone of mobile connectivity around the UK. More than 61,000 postcodes have been upgraded across Yorkshire. 

Virgin Media O2's first electric van
Virgin Media O2

Virgin Media O2 has continued to act on its pledge to invest more than £10 billion to upgrade connectivity in the UK, with more than £188 million spent across Yorkshire in recent years. Ultrafast broadband has been made available to more than 324,000 additional homes and businesses in the region. This investment has seen more than 900 jobs created or secured, as well as additional contracts with local firms, to help build the required infrastructure to keep the region connected. 

Latest technology

Virgin Media has used Skipton in North Yorkshire as the test bed for its state-of-the-art XGS-PON technology on its live full-fibre network. XGS-PON is a new standard of passive optical networks, which enables data to be sent and received over fibre optic cables, supporting higher speeds and more reliable connections in the future. 

The telecoms company signed a barrier busting charter with Sheffield City Council in 2020 to unlock further digital investment. This paved the way for over 24,000 premises to be added to its network in the city, and Virgin Media O2 continues to further expand its network with the charter providing clarity and opportunities for both the council and company to work together in bringing investment to the city. 

An O2 store employee handing a National Databank SIM card to a customer
Virgin Media O2

Keeping everyone connected

Virgin Media O2 is working with Sheffield-based charity Good Things Foundation on digital inclusion. It aims to improve the digital skills and confidence of two million people by the end of 2025. 

Together, Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation launched the National Databank, which is like a foodbank but for mobile data, texts and calls. And now the telecoms company is trialling it instore at the O2 shop in Hull, allowing people to walk in and access 20GB of free data per month for six months to help those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis. 

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “Virgin Media O2 is committed to bringing the best experience and seamless connectivity to all its customers around the UK. Through our investment, employment, collaboration with local authorities and continued support in local communities, we’re proud to be connecting residents and businesses across Yorkshire and playing our part in helping it continue to be the fastest growing digital industry in the UK.” 

Visit Virgin Media O2 to find out more.