Virgin Media announced it will be investing £3bn on improving its fiber-optic broadband network, representing the largest investment in broadband infrastructure in ten years.
The company said that the improvement could offer £8bn in wider economic benefits.
The programme has been called “Project Lightning” and it will be supported by Liberty Global – Virgin Media’s parent company.
The plan is to expand its ultra-fast fiber network based in existing areas, in addition to rolling it out into areas that it didn’t previously cover. People who are interested are encouraged to register online.
David Cameron welcomed the news:
“This additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain,”
He added: “Together with the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband (that can be stored safely in Fiber Cabinets), which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain.”
According to Virgin Media the upgrade, extending the reach of the network up to 17 million homes, could stimulate a combined £8bn of “economic activity and consumer benefit”. It could create as many as 6,000 jobs.
Virgin said it was capable of offering broadband speeds of up to 152Mb, more than twice as fast as the highest speeds that Sky, BT, or TalkTalk provide.
According to The Independent, some people are disappointed that Virgin Media’s investment is not going to target rural areas.
Dominic Baliszewski, the telecoms analyst at broadband choices, said:
“This still doesn’t address the ‘digital divide’ as the provider has clearly indicated that investment will focus on areas that are close to its existing infrastructure,”