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Virgin Media has accused the UK government of pumping funds into its major rival BT in the form of public subsidies.

In a letter published by the Guardian, Andrew Barron, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the firm, claimed that hundreds of millions of pounds are being channelled towards BT.

He said that most of the £980 million earmarked for investment in the UK's broadband infrastructure will go to the telecoms giant.

"The noble ambition of locally procured rural broadband networks is protracted and likely to favour the incumbent, freezing out new entrants," Mr Barron argued.

In his view, true competition only exists where Virgin Media has constructed its network in order to challenge BT's monopoly.

"The outcome of current government policy is likely to be the subsidy of already dominant infrastructure in areas where we are not, to the sum of hundreds of millions of pounds of public money," Mr Barron stated.

"If we agree competition is the best way to encourage further sustainable investment, and that embedding dominance in markets is bad for consumers, we must also accept that providing the vast majority of available public funding to an incumbent is not in the UK's best interests."

He said that throughout the formation of the government's broadband policy, Virgin Media has advocated "the most open and ambitious fibre-optic proposals".

The company has aimed to do more than simply breathe life into the existing copper network, Mr Barron claimed.

"However, this requires a national approach and an appetite for helping the rapid rollout of alternatives," he stated.

The Virgin Media COO said that, without the 1984 Cable and Broadcasting Act, Virgin Media's network would not exist and there would be no real challenger to BT in Britain today.

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