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From Hampshire to the Highlands: Broadband Rollout Roundup 30/11/2012

BT Openreach had a rare week without any announcements of new faster or superfast exchange upgrades, but that didn’t stop others working to wire up the UK, from Southampton to the Scottish Highlands.

Welcome to Broadband Rollout Roundup for the week ending November 30, 2012.

Virgin Media's new fleet of super vans

Virgin Media rolls out 100Mbps broadband in Southampton

Virgin Media doesn’t expand its network very often, so the addition of 80,000 new properties in Southampton was a major step.

The 100Mbps network also reaches nearby areas including Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford, and will be boosted to 120Mbps as part of Virgin’s Speed Doubling programme.

Digging up roads to lay cable is a slow and expensive process, and Virgin’s still paying off the billions spent building the UK’s cable network by small local cable companies more than 20 years ago.

They couldn’t pay the bills and gradually consolidated to form NTL and Telewest in the 1990s, which finally joined together and became Virgin Media a few years ago.

Now Virgin concentrates new expansion in areas where it’s sure there will be a good take-up to pay off the investment.

Three brings free Rural Broadband to Scotland’s Highlands

Mobile broadband is one way that rural communities can speed up their internet access from kilobits rather than Megabits, but community groups often can’t afford the upgrade.

Now mobile operator Three has handed out 20 3G dongles and portable hotspots to families and community groups in the Scottish Highlands, along with 4TB (four million Megabytes) of free data.

Community hubs, families and local businesses in Invergordan, Melvich and Durness can now get up to 14Mbps, with upgrades taking this to 42Mbps in the near future.

Free Cloudy WiFi at 100 Greater Anglia stations

Free WiFi can make waiting for trains a lot less boring, and The Cloud has now delivered on a deal for free connections at a hundred stations in the East of England.

From Chelmsford to Norwich, anyone can get an hour online at the Greater Anglia stations and on their trains.

Sky Broadband customers can go online as much as they want, since The Cloud is owned by Sky.

Digital Region dials up more postcodes

Not only is Digital Region speeding up connections in some locations, its inexorable rollout of FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband has gobbled up a few more Northern streets.

In Doncaster, it’s now available to properties in DN6 8HE, DN6 8QU, DN5 9DN. DN5 9DU, and the many Digital Region ISPs can now connect to Barnsley businesses and homes in S70 4HF, S70 5AR, S73 9HD, and S73 9HH. In Sheffield, addresses ending with S3 9AE and S5 8XQ are now part of the Digital Region network.