Virgin Media plans billion-pound broadband investment in “£8bn boost” to UK economy

Lynsey Barber
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Virgin Media will improve its broadband services (Source: Getty)

Virgin Media has unveiled major plans to invest in its broadband network which it says will benefit the UK economy by £8bn.

The £3bn of investment will also create 6,000 jobs over the next five years, 1,000 of which will be apprenticeships, the Liberty Global-owned company has said.

Virgin will increase by a third the number of homes and businesses with access to its broadband from 13m to 17m by 2020, offering speeds of up to 152mb - its biggest investment in broadband in more than a decade.

The investment is expected to stimulate £8bn of economic activity and consumer benefit nationally, according to research by economic consultants Oxera.

The plans, known as Project Lightning, received backing from Prime Minister David Cameron who welcomed the investment as a further boost for the UK’s digital economy.

Virgin Media chief executive Tom Mockridge said: “Millions of homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit for the first time from broadband speeds at least twice as fast as those available from the other major providers.”

Liberty Global global chief Mike Fries said the “significant investment” demonstrated the confidence it had in Virgin Media, which it acquired in 2013, and the UK as a place to do business.

It’s the second major investment in digital infrastructure this week after mobile network EE, soon to be owned by BT, announced a £1.5bn investment plan to expand its 4G network to rural areas and bring superfast 4G to 20 cities across the UK.

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