In an increasingly digital world, broadband connectivity has long been hailed as the ‘fourth utility’; a service as essential to our daily lives as water, gas and electricity. From online shopping to home working or even the ability to use essential healthcare services online, the ease with which we can access the internet can have a huge impact on the way we live. For Virgin Media, making sure millions more people can access ultrafast broadband was a key priority, but given the complexity, size and scale of the challenge, they needed a partner who could help manage the process.
Virgin Media’s Project Lightning programme aims to bring the benefits of ultrafast broadband connectivity to millions of homes and businesses around the country. Having recently launched next generation gigabit broadband in Southampton and Manchester, Virgin Media now plans to extend this to its entire network by the end of 2021.
It will be the single largest investment in broadband digital infrastructure in the UK and Ireland for more than a decade, expected to stimulate up to £8 billion for the economy and integral to the UK’s digital future. With so much at stake, Virgin Media needed to be certain about the costs the programme would incur, as well as being able to guarantee results.
This is where Arcadis stepped-in. We had already been working with Virgin Media for more than 18 months to help expand its network, but with the rollout of its ultrafast programme, we had the opportunity to help Virgin Media identify a number of cost efficiencies. By helping to develop an effective operating model and business process, as well as identifying, tracking and managing the benefits of the programme, we were able to help Virgin Media establish the quickest and most effective route to market.
In doing so, we defined and developed a strategic approach around Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA). PIA marks an innovative change in the industry around developing ‘no build’ solutions – in other words, an approach that uses existing infrastructure, so is much quicker than building new networks from scratch. We assessed the impact of PIA on crucial parts of Virgin Media’s business that would be affected by this new process. As a result, we were instrumental in developing an operating and resource model to support its implementation.
Arcadis also worked with Virgin Media to provide Business Transformation support around strategic resourcing and procurement. Our work included reviewing and defining how cost savings could best be made, and then providing support to ensure any cost saving measures could be implemented effectively through a new and upskilled commercial management function.
The new operating model we developed for Virgin Media is enabling it to roll out ultrafast broadband in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. It means that millions more people in homes and businesses all around the UK will now have faster and more reliable internet access, making a significant difference to their daily lives.