Cambridge villagers trial low-cost broadband roll-out method

Virgin Media is trialling a low-cost 'narrow-trenching' method for supplying superfast 1Gbps broadband in the village of Papworth, in Cambridgeshire

Virgin Media is trialling a low-cost method for supplying superfast broadband to a village in Cambridgeshire. Using a technique that reduces the width of the trench to lay fibre, Virgin Media is rolling out 1Gbps broadband in Papworth. Virgin Media partnered with John Henry Group to trial the method, known as "narrow-trenching".

The narrow-trenching method means the trench in which to lay the fibre has only to measure 10cm in width, rather than the usual 40cm. Engineers can cover up to 100m in a day, making it more than twice as fast as current methods and reducing roll-out costs by 33%. A hundred households in Papworth will be in the trial for the 1Gb service while hundreds more will get152Mb broadband from Virgin Media.

Nicola Debnam, head of local infrastructure and street management at Cambridgeshire County Council, said this complements the council’s Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership programme to improve the county’s digital infrastructure to drive economic growth.

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“Rolling out fibre broadband is a complex engineering challenge," said Debnam.

 "The council welcomes the development of the new trenching techniques such as these being trialled by Virgin Media and John Henry Group, which can help to minimise disruption to highways and the environment while improving the network."

Virgin Media delivers broadband over a fibre optic network available to 12.7m UK homes.

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