Virgin Media O2 reaffirmed its mission to “upgrade the UK” last week after announcing plans to bring full-fibre broadband to 14 million homes and businesses before the end of the decade.

Following the £31bn merger between Virgin and O2, the newly formed company has set its sights on challenging BT with a multi-billion-pound investment in its gigabit broadband infrastructure.

Only around 1.2 million premises in the UK currently have access to Virgin Media O2’s full-fibre network, but the latest plans will cover a total of 14.3 million by the end of 2028.

Chief executive Lutz Schüler said that it was part of the “next evolution” for its network and necessary to ensure that it remains a competitive force in the “decades ahead”.

Virgin Media O2’s latest work comes amid BT-owned Openreach’s quest to deliver better internet with an ambitious full-fibre broadband project that will reach a further 5 million homes to hit a 25 million target.

Both investments are good news for homeowners and businesses, who will eventually be able to access faster speeds and more reliable connections to complete essential tasks online.

Virgin Media O2 could offer speeds of up to 10Gbps by using its cable-based fibre network in conjunction with new cutting-edge technology.

Schüler noted: “With strong foundations for growth in place, we will boost connectivity, provide greater choice and be a challenger the country can count on.”

Those foundations mean that the new work will only lead to a “modest” increase in investment, with the annual budget for Virgin Media O2 expected to be around £2bn per year.