Virgin Media is investing £3 billion in its core network to reach more premises, but tells businesses to register their demand if they want to be one of the lucky four million to be served by faster connections.
The provider will expand network “where customer demand is there”, but also needed the backing of local authorities to aid the expansion.
The investment is the largest in the UK’s internet infrastructure in the last decade, connecting four million premises to to broadband speeds of 152Mb, at least twice the fastest speeds available from competitors, Virgin Media claimed.
The managing director of its Business division told ComputerworldUK this morning: “For me, it is a network ‘expansion’, so if you go to cities like London and Sheffield and Leeds and Birmingham there are big parts of those cities that our network has not covered, and we are looking to extend our network into those areas. Small businesses and consumers can register on an online portal and it will be that demand that drives the investment. As a first phase, its a pretty huge step.”
Not only will the lucky four million need to be close to Virgin Media’s current networks, Kelly warned ComputerworldUK that there could be other obstacles in place for connecting more businesses.
He said: “On a national level, some local authorities are more progressive than others. When you start to talk about wayleaves and dig programs and having to dig to put your infrastructure in, some local authorities are very positive and very proactive - because they know it is good for citizens and business economy.
“But there are others that are less receptive that’s going to be important. Where we go will be accelerated or held up by how proactive those local councils are in allowing us to get those structures in place.”
While the network provider’s announcement today focused on homes and small businesses its Virgin Media Business managing director Peter Kelly added: “We have got a large position in public sector, wholesale and large enterprise and that business is growing. We continue to build out our network of more than 20000 km of fibre that today addresses that large enterprise and public sector market and we continue to invest in more fibre more network services.”
Following worldwide cabling company Liberty's purchase of Virgin Media, enterprise customers have been waiting on new products from the provider. Kelly told ComputerworldUK that this first expansion was a sign of what will be available for large enterprise, and potentially manufacturing plants - which need a more robust network, in the future.
The expansion announced today, which is expected to take five years, will bring 6,000 direct new jobs, including 1,000 new apprenticeships Virgin Media said.
Businesses who want to register their interest can do so by following this link.
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