Virgin Media has announced plans to roll out ultrafast fibre broadband to ten rural communities across the UK.
The ultrafast fibre connections will deliver top download speeds of 200Mbps and 300Mbps to an unspecified number of homes and businesses in West Lothian, Renfrewshire, Leicestershire, West Yorkshire, Inverclyde, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.
The rural push is part of the company’s Project Lightning initiative, which aims to expand Virgin’s 13 million address-wide network to 17 million by 2019. Roughly 1 million of the new connections set up in that time will delivered services via FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) as opposed to the HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable) lines most Virgin customers are connected to.
Virgin Media broadband figures rise as cable footprint swells – but TV subs cut the cordThe communities announced today will be among the first to benefit from Virgin’s future-proofed full fibre rollout and were selected as part of the Supercharging Local Communities, a demand-driven project which saw over 7,000 votes cast between the end of February and April.
Virgin Media’s chief operating officer Paul Buttery said: “This is truly people-powered connectivity. The collective support and demand from across the UK has exceeded our expectations and we’re delighted to be supercharging these 10 areas with ultrafast fibre broadband and top notch entertainment.
“Investing and delivering better connectivity in these communities shows that ultrafast broadband isn’t just for the big cities – we urge more communities to come together and register their interest. You could be next.”
The first rural communities that will benefit from Virgin Media’s FTTP rollout are:
- Kirknewton (West Lothian)
- Houston, Crosslee, Craigends and Brookfield (Renfrewshire)
- Bridge of Weir (Renfrewshire)
- Ratby (Leicestershire)
- Wilsden (West Yorkshire)
- Kilmacolm (Inverclyde)
- Stoke Poges (Buckinghamshire)
- Lightwater (Surrey)
- Hartley Wintney and Phoenix Green (Hampshire)
- Oakley (Dorset)
Virgin Media has not confirmed when it expects to begin work or how long each project will take, but it has confirmed that it’ll be making use of a technique called narrow trenching, which allows engineers to cover up to 100 metres in a day.
FTTP is capable of delivering significantly greater headline speeds than HFC broadband can but it’s unlikely that we’ll see a much of a difference in the short term; trials have shown that DOCSIS 3.1 technology and coaxial cable can deliver gigabit download speeds.