Virgin Media is moving to reduce BT's dominance of the Wi-Fi market by turning broadband cabinets into hotspots.
By installing Wi-Fi hotspots in its street-side cabinets, Virgin Media plans to substantially open up subscribers' internet access outside of the home, the Telegraph reports.
The company is also set to update its household routers so that customers are able to use each other’s Wi-Fi networks, when they are in adequate proximity.
This will be bolstered by an upcoming speed boost being rolled out to all customers from October 1st, ending in early 2016, with all the changes coming at no extra charge to consumers.
According to the Telegraph, the array of upgrades and increased investment from Virgin Media is being carried out in a bid to eat into BT's Wi-Fi dominance, which extends to five million hotspots across the UK, when shared capacity on home routers is taken into account.
In a bid to reassure customers concerned about shared usage, Virgin Media will also ensure that the public network is kept separate from secure private connections at all times.
A further consequence of the move will be a shift away from Virgin Mobile customers' reliance on using their smartphone data for browsing, texts and calls, and instead utilising Wi-Fi for these services.
This stems from the impending BT acquisition of EE, which currently provides capacity on a wholesale basis to the Virgin Mobile network.
The moves are in keeping with recent actions taken by Virgin Media's parent company Liberty Global, which has moved to cut costs since its acquisition of the broadband giant, and has fuelled speculation about a potential merger with Vodafone to further consolidate and expand the respective companies' market positions.