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Virgin announces further expansion of broadband network

Wednesday, December 16th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Virgin Media has announced the expansion of its broadband network into six Leicestershire villages, taking speeds up to 200Mbps to 16,000 homes.

Residents in Blaby, Countesthorpe and Enderby will be the first to benefit from ultrafast speeds, with some homes going live before Christmas.

They will be followed by Whetstone, Narborough and Cosby, which will be connected in early 2016.

The expansion of the network is part of Virgin’s £3bn Project Lightning, announced earlier this year, which is connecting 4m premises to ultrafast broadband.

The 16,000 homes in Leicestershire join 250,000 premises that have so far been earmarked to benefit from ultrafast broadband speeds.

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge said: “Expanding our network to villages such as Blaby and Enderby shows that Project Lightning is not just about building in big cities, we’re also investing to bring ultrafast broadband to towns and villages close to our existing network across the UK.”

The network expansion in Leicestershire is using fibre to the home technology as well as ‘narrow trenching’.

Narrow trenching reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre optic cable from around 40cm to 10cm and allows engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, Virgin said.

Mr Mockridge added: “The innovative use of narrow-trenching means that we’ll be laying fibre optic cable all the way to customers’ doorsteps, future-proofing their homes for tomorrow’s connectivity and rolling out network more quickly.

“We hope that we can count on government and local authority support to use this technique in more parts of the UK.”

Record customer growth

Last month, Virgin reported record customer growth in the previous quarter, driven partly by demand for its broadband bundles.

The company's results for the three months ending 30 September showed that 42,000 customers signed up to the provider in the quarter – the highest gain recorded in those three months since Virgin Media was created in 2007.

The company added 67,500 subscriptions in the UK, 55,500 of which were for broadband.

And more than half of new broadband customers chose speeds of 100Mbps plus.

Earlier this year Virgin announced that it was increasing its top speed to 200Mbps, and customers taking its 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 152Mbps services could opt-in to higher speeds of 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps.

The new speeds were expected to be available to 90% of our customers in the UK by the end of the year.

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