Home » News » Virgin suspends four after ‘overstating’ Project Lightning broadband rollout

Virgin suspends four after ‘overstating’ Project Lightning broadband rollout

Wednesday, 29 March, 2017

Virgin Media’s parent company has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown after revealing it exaggerated by over 140,000 the number of homes included in its Project Lightning broadband rollout.

Four employees have been suspended and it has reshuffled senior executives at the top of Virgin Media.

In a financial statement Liberty Global said it discovered that connections to a substantial number of “inactive premises” had been overstated.

Construction work to install broadband had “not progressed as originally understood”, said the statement.

A review found the numbers were “misrepresented”. Four staff have been suspended and Liberty is threatening to fire anyone who is found to have deliberately misled bosses.

Project Lightning is Virgin’s £3bn superfast broadband rollout and is currently under heavy advertising rotation on UK TV screens.

Virgin say they want to boost coverage to 17 million homes by the end of 2019.

On 15 February 2017, Liberty Global put out a press release announcing its financial results for the quarter ending 31 December 2016.

On 28 March 2017 it admitted in a financial statement: “we reported that our European operations added 1.4 million premises to our networks during the 2016 calendar year, including 465,000 premises added by Virgin Media.”

Included in these headline figures were 142,000 premises where “the company understood construction to be essentially complete”.

When bosses discovered this wasn’t the case, it called four employees in to be suspended and was forced to release the details to the financial press.

Still, Project Lightning should be back on track by 30 June 2017, Liberty said.

The company added that it had “taken several steps to strengthen our Project Lightning new build program”.

Top execs who have joined the Project Lightning team are: Managing Director Robert Evans, who reports to Virgin’s Chief Executive Tom Mockridge and Jeff Dodds, head of mobile at rival TalkTalk.

Virgin Media has also appointed a Liberty Global’s transformation officer Dana Strong as its new President and Chief Operating Officer.

She oversaw the restructure back in 2013 when Liberty completed the Virgin Media takeover. She’ll be responsible for delivering more customers to Project Lightning.

Tom Rodgers author picture

By:

Tom is a tech journalist and former Editor at BroadbandDeals.co.uk.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The new homes with 1GB broadband connections

The new homes with 1GB broadband connectionsThe new homes with 1GB broadband connections Read more

What are ISPs and internet services doing to help during the Coronavirus crisis?

Total lockdown expected - can ISP’s and internet services offer any help?

Read more

BT confirm Gigabit broadband!

BT confirm the launch of their Gigabit home broadband package for Spring 2020!

Read more

Tips for home working during Coronavirus outbreaks

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

Why Connected Home over IP will change our lives

Why Connected Home over IP will change our livesWhy Connected Home over IP will change our lives Read more

Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant?

Read more

Protecting your content from plagiarism and reuse

Read more