Virgin Media has named the next 30 rural communities which will gain access to its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.
The areas are expected to be connectable via full fibre by spring 2017 and is the next stage of Virgin Media's Supercharging Local Communities initiative, part of its £3bn Project Lightning network.
It's aiming to bring 300 mega-bits-per-second broadband to small businesses located outside major towns and cities. Virgin Media's FTTP footprint is expected to increase from 12.9m premises to 17m by the end of 2019.
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To select the rural area's that have been chosen Virgin asked local residents and businesses to vote for their community.
(scroll down for the full list of areas that have been added)
Paul Buttery, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, said:
By bringing fibre to the parishes and smaller communities, it shows that ultrafast broadband and top-notch TV isn’t just for big cities.
We have been overwhelmed by the response from the local communities and as a result we have decided to speed up our network expansion plans, to connect the next 30 villages by spring 2017.
But we won’t stop there – we urge more people to come forward and tell us where we should expand to next.
The debate around broadband infrastructure expansion has been raging since BT – the owner of the Openreach infrastructure network – opted not to connect premises to the fibre network directly.
Earlier this year BT narrowly avoided being forced to spin off Openreach into a separate company by the industry regulator Ofcom.
TalkTalk's chief executive Dido Harding previously wrote in City A.M. about BT's relationship with Openreach.
BT Openreach’s broadband network is powered by fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) which uses copper for the final few hundred metres of a connection, slowing down maximum speeds.
BT claims the cost of connecting the premises to FTTP is too high and FTTC does the job well enough.
TalkTalk and Sky are meanwhile working together on a FTTP joint venture in York to gauge interest levels and the cost of rolling out the infrastructure on a nationwide basis.
It's understood the duo are working on bringing the trial to other UK regions in coming months.
A number of other broadband companies are working on building their fibre network, which has added to the controversy surrounding infrastructure development.
CityFibre wants to establish itself as a wholesale FTTP alternative to Openreach by targeting urban areas outside London.
Rival Hyperoptic covers a number of cities including the capital, and Gigaclear is connecting rural communities to fibre.
Here is the full list of the villages that will be added (in order of votes cast) to the Virgin Media FTTP network:
- Windlesham (Surrey)
- Sutton Courtenay (Oxfordshire)
- Balsall Common (West Midlands)
- Chineham & Old Basing (Hampshire)
- Oakley (Hampshire)
- Farnham Common (Buckinghamshire)
- Wargrave (Berkshire)
- Lickey, Catshill, Marlbrook & Barnt Green (Worcestershire)
- Cullingworth (West Yorkshire)
- Shrivenham (Oxfordshire)
- Baddesley Ensor (Warwickshire)
- Harden (West Yorkshire)
- Broughton Astley (Leicestershire)
- Grimethorpe (South Yorkshire)
- Wigginton & Haxby (North Yorkshire)
- Copmanthorpe (North Yorkshire)
- Grassmoor (Derbyshire)
- Pontyclun (Rhondda)
- Darfield (South Yorkshire)
- Talke & Talke Pits (Staffordshire)
- Cudworth (South Yorkshire)
- Duffield (Derbyshire)
- Shafton (South Yorkshire)
- Denham (Buckinghamshire)
- Llanharry (Rhondda)
- Marcham (Oxfordshire)
- North Leigh (Oxfordshire)
- Repton (Derbyshire)
- North Cornelly (Bridgend)
- Watchfield (Oxfordshire)