Up Close and Personal with…

Editorial Type: Interview Date: 11-2010 Views: 1,055 Tags: Networking, Virgin Media Business
… Mark Heraghty Managing Director of Virgin Media Business

Ray Smyth -Explain where Virgin Media Business fits in.
Mark Heraghty - It's very different from the consumer side; we don't do cable TV at all. However, we do share the UK's largest nationwide fibre optic network with 330 Ethernet PoPs and over 38,000 street cabinets. We deliver services to over 85 percent of UK businesses.

It has taken time and investment to get here. In fact over £13 billion has been spent creating the fastest and most advanced UK business network. This is why we handle over 35 per cent of UK broadband traffic and approximately 40 per cent of mobile traffic. Virgin Media Business contributes around £600m worth of revenue to the group annually.

RS - Why does Ethernet seem so important?
MH - Organisations are consuming bandwidth faster than they can provision for it. Mobile, financial services and data centres are examples of sectors groaning under the weight of the data they need to transport securely and quickly. Ethernet is a great solution; it flexes to meet demand, is low latency and offers the lightening-quick speeds that a competitive business relies on.

RS - Why should Virgin be taken seriously in this space?
MH - All Virgin companies hold the same values and the group only enters a market where those values can make a difference. In the business-to-business (B2B) telecoms market, there has not been a credible rival to BT. Although we're committed to challenging the status quo with increased choice and a great customer experience, we're not exactly new kids on the block. We have over 16 years' experience in the B2B space. It's only Virgin that has a UK nationwide fibre optic network.

RS - When not thinking about connectivity, what do you do?
MH - Usually I'd unwind over dinner with my family, but my sponsored diet, raising funds for Naomi House, has altered that. I'm very close to my 10kg target and a £5,000 donation; that will help to provide a service to children that may not make it to adulthood. Spending time with my family still remains the best way for me to unwind.

RS - Your favourite piece of technology?
MH - Without question, anything by Apple. I am a complete Apple fiend. In our house there are about six iPods, an iPad, two Mac Books, three iMacs, an Apple TV and a Time Machine (the wireless hard drive rather than the real thing!) It's such simple and well produced technology. Just genius.

RS - The next big technology shift for Virgin?
MH - Following the year of data in 2010, it follows that 2011 will be the year of bandwidth. Initially for transporting huge volumes of information, but over time private and public sector organisations may look at how it supports the application of video; a huge trend. The health sector will benefit with innovations like remote diagnostics and telepresence and video conferencing will at last become viable for all. This will drive the blurring of the lines between consumer and business applications of telecoms.

Finally, no forecast would be complete without acknowledging the impact of cloud computing, with more businesses than ever accessing mission critical applications from the cloud and switching to a virtual platform. This will continue in 2011 where cloud computing will become the norm for many. We are already looking into some exciting cloud propositions involving highly respected partners. More next year!

RS - When did you last speak with Mr Branson?
MH - The last time I saw Sir Richard was in August at the V Festival. Previous to that I met with him at the launch of Virgin Media Business back in February 2010, where we talked in depth about the business, the Virgin brand and what the future for the company looks like. It was a very exciting and interesting conversation. NC