eevl - Fotolia
Virgin Media has set aside £25m out of a £3bn funding pot to bring ultrafast broadband to 50,000 residential and commercial premises in Nottingham.
Having received plenty of interest from people living in the city – who were invited to register their interest online – Virgin Media has now secured support from Nottingham City Council to help overcome roll-out barriers.
The council has adopted a collaborative approach to investment that Virgin Media said would help maximise its roll-out in the area, and demonstrated an appetite to fast-track the network build and minimise disruption.
It already operates a permit scheme that encourages works taking place on non-traffic sensitive roads at non-traffic sensitive times, which Virgin Media believes will help create the right conditions for its engineers.
Besides Nottingham itself, its roll-out will also encompass a number of surrounding towns, including Mansfield, Newark and Grantham.
It launched the £3bn Project Lightning programme in February 2015, with the objective of passing 17 million homes and businesses with superfast broadband, and four million with its high-end ultrafast 152Mbps product by 2020. It has already earmarked access to its ultrafast service for 250,000 properties in Manchester and Leeds.
“Better broadband brings huge benefits for the people and businesses of Nottingham,” said Nottingham City Council portfolio holder for jobs, growth and transport, Nick McDonald. “I welcome Virgin Media’s investment to extend its ultrafast internet to the city centre and suburbs, and encourage communities across Nottingham to identify their demand for broadband.”
Notts County Council’s chair of the economic development committee, Diana Meale, added: “The roll-out of ultrafast internet will complement the county council’s Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire programme and further strengthen our position as one of the best connected counties in the country – great news for the local economy, jobs and growth.”
However, Virgin Media will face competition in some parts of Nottingham, as urban fibre-to-the-premises supplier Hyperoptic also recently announced its own expansion into the area.
Hyperoptic has tended to focus more on new-build, multi-occupancy buildings containing more than 50 residential units, but has also launched a business product, and can already provide headline speeds that are more than eight times faster than Virgin Media’s.