Virgin Media to reach another 100,000 homes

 

Virgin Media is set to expand its cable network to pass a further 100,000 homes by the end of the year, as the super-fast broadband arms race with BT continues to heat up.

The group, run by Neil Berkett, will today announce the expansion of its network, which currently covers just over half the homes in the UK.

The fibre-optic cable offers customers speeds of up to 100Mb, the fastest in the country. Virgin currently caters to 13 million homes, and next year intends to increase that number by a further 500,000. The investment in building its network has so far surpassed £13bn.

The latest move will see the company expand in Southampton, almost doubling its existing presence in the city.

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said the lack of high-speed broadband had been frequently raised by her constituents, adding she welcomed the fact that all of Southampton will have access by the end of the year.

Royston Smith, the leader of Southampton City Council, called it a "massive boost to business in Southampton", adding the city had been working with Virgin on the project "for some months".

So far in 2011, Virgin has brought its cable infrastructure to potential customers in a further 73,000 homes in locations including Derry in Northern Ireland and Staines. The company plans to expand with further projects, as yet unannounced, later this year.

Virgin said the consumer need for ever-faster broadband services was growing as data downloaded by its customers had grown 43 per cent a year since 2007 and has now hit 25Gb every month.

Rival BT is also expanding its super-fast broadband network. The service, which can offer up to 40Mb, is part of its £2.5bn plan to bring super-fast broadband to two-thirds of the country and beyond.

Virgin has been keen to point out that despite BT's drive to install cable, its network still relies on copper telephone wiring, which can provide much more limited speed.

Virgin itself has trialled the fastest cable broadband in the world in east London, where speeds hit 1.5Gb, over its existing infrastructure.

The company is currently working on a partnership with Fujitsu to create a new network to provide super-fast broadband services to the remotest parts of the UK, which are currently uneconomical for providers to cover.

Trials by the Japanese group to run cables over BT infrastructure – on its telegraph poles and through its ducts – got under way last week with one of the largest testing areas in the Wirral.

The Government has been pushing companies such as Virgin and BT to improve the country's broadband services. It set up Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to oversee the implementation of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's pledge to bring in the best super-fast broadband infrastructure in Europe by 2015.

Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin, said today's announcement would "support the Government's digital ambitions".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific