Virgin Media pauses nationwide TV service

Virgin Media pauses nationwide TV service

At least 2009 before firm can bring four-play outside cable regions

Virgin Media has quietly revealed that it is postponing plans for TV services to the off-network segment of the UK population that live outside its cable footprint.

The plan was originally set in motion by former Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch, but acting boss Neil Berkett is attempting to streamline aspects of the company as part of his 'doing less properly' strategy.

The company was originally planning to offer IPTV services in 2008, after signing a wholesale deal to use the Cable & Wireless network.

Virgin Media has now conceded that it will be at least 2009 before it can begin to roll out its range of TV, broadband, phone and mobile services to non-cable areas.

While the move will hamper the broadcaster in its public battle with Sky, Virgin Media wants focus on its 'hero product' of high-speed broadband to more effectively take on BT, Carphone Warehouse and Sky.

The plan was also designed to allow Virgin Media customers to retain the full range of services, even if they move out of a cable area.

Virgin Media appears to have stemmed the tide of disgruntled customers, however. The company claimed 13,000 more customers than the previous quarter, but still reported a £61m loss.

As part of the original deal, customers signed up to, the broadband service currently carried by BT, will be transferred to C&W in early 2008.