Virgin Media have announced the locations of their first 10 FTTP network upgrade areas after a customer vote. The Fibre To The Premise (FTTP) technology is part of a staggering £3bn total overhaul and expansion of the Virgin Media infrastructure which will see their reach extend to an additional 4 million premises across the UK.
500,000 premises – both businesses and residential areas – have been added to the expanding network since January this year alone.
The new connections will take Virgin’s reach to 17 million premises, and most of the new properties will connected with standard coaxial cables, which are currently capable of 200Mbps of data delivery, but according to a spokesman making the announcement last month, one million of the added properties will fall within the footprint of the extremely fast FTTP network under “Project Lightning”, and will be connected with super-fast fibre optic cables capable of achieving an incredible 10Gbps download speed.
The expanded system will largely cover areas already served by BT, as BT and Virgin Media do not share infrastructure. Many communities in varying counties were also invited to register their interest in the project to be given priority as the system is installed, with work already begun in Manchester and Leeds, as well as across several more rural areas in multiple counties.
Paul Buttery, the COO of Virgin Media in the UK, said today that “the overall support and level of demand across the UK has been phenomenal and far exceeded our expectations. We’re delighted to be giving these ares the supercharged, super-fast broadband and top-notch entertainment that they deserve. Investing in these communities and delivering better connectivity shows that modern, ultra-fast broadband isn’t just for urban centres and cities, it’s for everyone – and we urge any communities that are interested to come forward and register their interest.”
Virgin’s ultra-fast network, when completed, will allow the company to technologically outperform their main competitors, who all rely on BT infrastructure. However, instead of modernising their infrastructure with expensive ultra-fast fibre optic cables as Virgin are, BT have focused on cost cutting by simply trying ot make upgrades to their existing copper cables. While adequate for now, these cables have a hard limit on internet speed that is far below the minimum speed of fibre optic cables. The other telecoms companies forced to use BT’s infrastructure are becoming worried that this unwillingness to upgrade could render all of their companies and all of their products inferior to Virgin Media in the future.