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Virgin Media's plans to launch a cut-price broadband service for consumers have reportedly been dropped.

The proposal, codenamed Project Prosecco, would have seen Virgin Media expanding its cable network in an effort to compete with other providers that offer discount broadband packages, such as TalkTalk and Plusnet.

Speaking in 2016, Virgin Media's Chief Executive Tom Mockridge had said: "There are a lot of people down in the more economic sector. But we think there is room for everyone in this market."

However, the Telegraph is reporting that the plans have been abandoned, which could disappoint consumers who were holding out hope for an unlimited budget option from Virgin Media.

According to the newspaper, Project Prosecco would have seen the creation of a sub-brand called Ruby, which was registered as a brand name with the Intellectual Property Office in March 2017.

Speaking to the publication, a source said the proposals were "almost ready to go", but were ultimately abandoned following a consultation with parent company Liberty Global.

The creation of a sub-brand to reach new markets is not without precedent in the telecoms market.

For example, Plusnet is part of BT, while Vodafone recently created the Voxi sub-brand to target young people.

Similarly, Sky responded to the surge of online streaming services without harming its satellite subscription business by creating NOW TV.

According to the Telegraph's source, the decision to scrap Project Prosecco was taken partly because Sky and Vodafone, which are typically regarded as premium brands, had recently announced price reductions for fibre-to-the-cabinet based fibre broadband packages.

The insider said this narrowed the gap that Ruby was designed to tap into, adding that creating a new sub-brand risked confusing customers and eroding Virgin Media's subscriber base.

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