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Virgin says ultrafast isn't just for big cities as it connects 10 communities

Monday, May 23rd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Virgin Media has named 10 communities that will get ultrafast broadband through pure fibre connections as part of its Project Lightning programme.

The 10 areas, chosen by local residents and businesses, will get fibre broadband straight to their door as part of Virgin’s £3bn network expansion.

The communities, four of which are in Scotland, received the most votes in Virgin’s Supercharging Local Communities initiative.

The project gave homes and businesses in 18 counties the chance to benefit from fibre straight to the premises.

Announcing the 10 communities that will benefit, Virgin said more than 7,000 votes had been cast between 29 February and 29 April via the company’s Cable My Street website.

The 10 places include Kirknewton in West Lothian; Houston, Crosslee, Craigends and Brookfield in Renfrewshire; Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire; Ratby in Leicestershire; and Wilsden in West Yorkshire.

Kilmacolm in Inverclyde; Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire; Lightwater in Surrey; Hartley Wintney and Phoenix Green in Hampshire and Oakley in Dorset will also benefit.

Paul Buttery, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, 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.”

'Narrow-trenching'

Digital minister Ed Vaizey said: "This is fantastic news for the communities who will now be able to benefit from all that ultrafast broadband offers. I'm particularly pleased to see almost half of them are in Scotland.

"Continued commercial investment like Virgin Media's Project Lightning, together with the rollout being delivered by the UK government and local authorities, means more UK homes and businesses will benefit from faster speeds, whether they're in the remote countryside or in city centres."

Virgin recently announced that at least a quarter of the 4m premises being connected by Project Lightning will be connected using fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology in a move that will make it the UK’s largest wholly fibre broadband network.

Virgin’s FTTP rollout uses an approach called narrow-trenching which reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre cables from around 40cm to 10cm, allowing engineers to lay it twice as fast as current methods.

The method has been used in Leicestershire, where Virgin Media previously announced the expansion of its broadband network into six villages, taking speeds up to 200Mbps to 16,000 homes.

Virgin said as it continues its network expansion, voting for the Supercharging Local Communities initiative has reopened across 18 UK counties with more communities to be announced later this year.

The 18 counties are: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Renfrewshire, Rhondda, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Lothian, West Yorkshire, Worcestershire.

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