Communities in 18 counties can apply to be covered by Virgin Media’s £3bn cable expansion
Virgin Media is inviting rural communities in 18 UK counties to register their interest in being covered by the company’s £3 billion ‘Project Lightning’ network expansion.
Project Lightning is set to increase Virgin Media’s cable footprint from 12.6 million homes to 17 million over the next few years, but the focus has primarily been on urban areas where BT Openreach’s fibre is also available.
It is expected that 500,000 premises will be connected during 2016.
However the Liberty Global-owned firm says it’s not just cities that will benefit. A number of villages in Leicestershire have been covered already and Virgin is also using ‘narrow trenching’ – a technique which reduces the trenches required to lay cables from 40cm to 10cm – to speed up the expansion and reduce cost.
The 18 counties eligible for this latest initiative are Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Renfrewshire, Rhondda, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Lothian, West Yorkshire and Worcestershire.
“Expanding our network to communities in across 18 UK counties shows that ultrafast broadband isn’t just for the big cities, we are dedicated to investing and delivering connectivity across the UK,” said Paul Buttery, Virgin Media chief operating officer. “Better broadband brings huge benefits for people and businesses. You can now help to bring ultrafast internet access to your home or business by registering today at Cablemystreet.”
The maximum speed afforded by Virgin’s cable network is 200Mbps for consumers and 300Mbps for small businesses, higher than those available on Openreach’s fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure. FTTC uses existing copper wire for the final few hundred metres of the connection, delivering speeds of up to 76Mbps. However BT does have plans to deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps over copper using G.Fast technology.