Broadband battle as Virgin sells for £15bn

 

A new broadband battleground could be the result of the takeover of Virgin Media by the American giant Liberty Media. Analysts have already predicted that Liberty's boss, the mogul John Malone, will use the deal to take on his rival Rupert Murdoch.

But does that mean UK consumers will emerge as winners? Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, thinks not. "It's unlikely to have any real impact on UK customers – at least not for now," he said.

"The Virgin Media brand will still exist, so it's likely to remain business as usual for consumers, although there are hints of improving the customer offering."

Virgin Media, founded by Sir Richard Branson, who retains a 3 per cent stake, has built its business by flogging bundled services, but it is its superfast fibre offering that has given it a leading position in the broadband market.

For that reason the takeover could yet prove to bring good news to UK consumers, said Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk. He predicts better pricing and better services for customers.

"The Virgin Media buyout is hugely exciting for the telecoms market," he said. "It already has one of the most advanced broadband networks in the country and with new and ambitious owners the business could progress even further, providing more cutting-edge products."

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