Full Speed Ahead with Virgin Media Business

Already delivering the fastest broadband speeds in Ireland, Virgin Media Business is firmly committed to ensuring that connectivity, security and reliability continues for businesses of all sizes.

Virgin Media Ireland recently appointed Aidan D’Arcy as Vice-President of Wholesale and Business with immediate effect, reporting to CEO Tony Hanway. Having first joined the business as an engineering graduate in 2004, in his new role D’Arcy will be responsible for the strategic growth and development of Virgin Media Business, while also working closely with the Tech Solutions and Consumer functions.

An important area of responsibility for D’Arcy will be to oversee the expansion of Virgin Media’s full-fibre network – the focus of a current €200m investment by the company. The upgrade is expected to take three years to complete and create over 500 jobs, eventually delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) to 1 million premises nationwide.

“Virgin Media’s full-fibre investment is an exciting development for customers across Ireland. It demonstrates our commitment to providing the best-connected entertainment experiences to Irish consumers and provides a step towards a 10G broadband service,” says D’Arcy.

The investment also offers the potential to work with other service providers at a wholesale level, he adds. “Wholesale is an interesting opportunity for Virgin Media and we will continue to monitor any potential place we could take in this area.”
Businesses will see benefits from going full-fibre from the perspective of speed superiority being maintained with flexibility to upgrade to 1G and also to add on tailored business services such as Virgin Media’s Cloud Voice product and Business WiFi.“Additionally, our business TV offering is going from strength to strength with our TV360 platform and some exciting current and new content in the pipeline,” D’Arcy notes.

Partnering with purpose
Virgin Media Business is very mindful of the unprecedented challenges facing businesses at the moment and is helping them as a trustworthy and reliable partner.
“Certainty is a key condition that businesses need and arguably the most illusive one over the past few years. Covid-19 was a difficult period for many businesses to navigate through and now there are fresh challenges emerging from inflation and supply-chain uncertainty – to name just two. On top of this, cyber threats are more prevalent now than ever,” says D’Arcy.

“Robust protections for businesses are important as we see the increasing use of cloud and digital services. Virgin Media’s connectivity portfolio from SD-WAN to Dedicated Internet Access and broadband all have options for cyber-security enablement. If any customer doesn’t have cyber protection – which we would encourage all businesses to have – we have options for them to review this with our expert team.”

The Central Statistics Office’s ‘Survey on E-Commerce and ICT 2021’ revealed that 59% of businesses had purchased cloud computing services, up from 51% in 2020. It also showed that one third of enterprises made use of interconnected devices or systems that can be monitored or controlled remotely via the Internet.

With the more widespread move towards a more digital future, it has become essential for businesses to be equipped with better connectivity and collaboration to fully embrace this transition. The gap in connectivity capabilities between larger enterprises and SMEs became apparent during the pandemic. However, the pandemic also presented an opportunity for smaller businesses to bridge the divide and increase their appetite for digital transformation.

In its white paper, The Road to the Digital Future of SMEs, IDC stated: “From Voice-over Internet Protocol [VoIP] to accessing the cloud, the benefits of flexible working, improving digital marketing and enhancing customer experience mean that reliable, high Internet-connection speed is a necessity for the future.” According to D’Arcy, this is especially true for SMEs taking their first steps towards a future that looks exponentially more digital than ever before and where hybrid working will become the norm.

The third annual National Remote Working Survey, released by NUI Galway in May, revealed that, of those employees who could work remotely, 52% were currently working hybrid, 40% fully remotely and only 8% were fully onsite. Compiled from responses from over 8,400 employees, the research highlighted that 30% of all respondents indicated that they would change job if their future remote working preferences were not facilitated.

“With many workplaces adopting a hybrid model of working, reliable and fast connectivity lies at the heart of this journey for small firms as they endeavour to empower their people to do their job wherever they are, whenever it matters and however works best for everyone,” says D’Arcy.

“Good connectivity is crucial for SMEs in helping people to collaborate better with colleagues and customers remotely. It has the potential to improve productivity for individuals working remotely, in the office or anywhere else – allowing people to do their jobs in a healthy, sustainable way in this new normal.”

Backing Business
Another important way that Virgin Media Business has shown its commitment to SMEs in recent years has been its #BackingBusiness initiative, which involved a €1m support fund being pledged in 2020.

“Our goal is to create opportunities for all businesses to grow through digital technology. With #BackingBusiness, we wanted to support them by sharing their inspiring stories of resilience and promote their businesses across our Virgin Media television channels and our social media platforms,” D’Arcy explains.
“With a reach of around 2.7 million people every week across our channels, we were able to support over 300 businesses through promotions, helping them to get back to business. We took our shows on the road, broadcasting on Ireland AM, Elaine, The Six O’Clock Show and The Tonight Show from Limerick, Cork and Kilkenny, showcasing some wonderful local businesses.”

Virgin Media Business then took the initiative a step further in partnership with Digital Business Ireland (DBI), Permanent TSB, Milk Bottle Labs and Local Enterprise Offices. Five successful applicants benefited from a complete digital transformation to enhance their e-commerce offering and trading platform so they could compete globally.

The digital transformation package, funded by Permanent TSB, included a professionally built e-commerce store on Shopify by Milk Bottle Labs; one year of free fibre business broadband with Virgin Media Business; dedicated training in digital marketing from their Local Enterprise Office; business development support and full membership of DBI’s extensive network; and expert support to boost their digital delivery.
“The idea was to help these small businesses make the most of new online consumer spending patterns with support from industry experts to help raise their e-commerce offering to the next level,” says D’Arcy.

“#BackingBusiness proved so popular and impactful to indigenous Irish SMEs in 2020 and 2021 that we will be continuing the programme in 2022 and beyond. The next phase of the initiative will bring together two of our passions – sustainability and supporting Irish businesses – and the focus will remain on innovative, forward-thinking and ambitious businesses.”