Recycled aggregate used in Glasgow network build
Virgin Media O2 has reported a sustainability first as it works to deliver gigabit broadband to its entire network by the end of this year.
The firm – created from the merger of O2 and Virgin Media, approved in April – has successfully trialled the use of recycled aggregate while building new network in Cranhill, Glasgow.
With more than 100,000 tonnes of aggregate used each year by Virgin Media O2’s Project Lightning network expansion programme, switching to recycled aggregate could save more than 450 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. For the Glasgow build recycled stone and sand was used when reinstating the ground after laying fibre cables in two streets.
Rob Evans, MD of fixed network expansion at Virgin Media O2, said: “In every area of our business, whether it’s through the design of our products, the way we operate, or the materials we use when we’re building new network, we’re constantly evolving to help in the fight against climate change.
“This trial shows our commitment to doing things differently and reducing our environmental impact as we bring gigabit services to more homes and businesses on the streets of Glasgow and help to upgrade the UK.”
The trial was completed with support from Glasgow City Council.
Councillor Angus Millar, chair of the Digital Glasgow Board, said: “Schemes such as this carbon reduction project in Glasgow help the city meet our ambition to become net-zero carbon by 2030. We were pleased to work with Virgin Media O2 on this project to reduce their environmental impact, and are always open to any such proposals – we all have to work together to tackle the challenges of climate change.”
Virgin Media O2 said the success of the trial, which saw the sustainably sourced materials undergo on-site testing and monitoring, paves the way for more expansive use of recycled materials in future.
Prior to becoming a JV both Virgin Media and O2 had established sustainability records.
For example, O2 Recycle has recycled around 3.3 million devices and paid out more than £250 million to customers and Virgin Media’s device refurbishment programme saw 1.3 million products reused in 2020 alone, extending the life of the devices and supporting the circular economy.
In March this year, Virgin Media performed a ‘business first’ by using a combination of construction techniques to connect thousands of homes in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, in a low-impact build.
In addition to the more commonly used narrow trenching techniques, the company also installed new cables in existing underground ducts and used Openreach’s overhead telegraph poles to connect the area. This helped reduce the need to build new infrastructure, helped minimise disruption to local people and the environment, and enabled the efficient and faster rollout of the operator’s gigabit capable network.