Virgin Media will not plan rural expansion solely to gain government funding

22 Nov 2010

British cableco Virgin Media has said that it will not extend its high speed broadband network to rural regions based solely on funding received from the government, Bloomberg is reporting. With previous local press reports having suggested that the British government could make some GBP800 million (USD1.3 billion) available to help fund the rollout of superfast internet connections in rural areas, Virgin Media’s chief financial officer Eamonn O’Hare said: ‘We are not going to be driven by government funding.’ The operator is believed to be considering utilising the telephone poles of fixed line incumbent BT to extend its footprint, while it is also thought to be examining using the country’s electricity grid to offer fibre-based services.

As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this month, BT claimed it could extend the reach of its superfast fibre-based broadband network to around 90% of the country’s homes if it is able to access funds expected to be made available by the government, with the telco’s CEO Ian Livingston saying that his company could reach the higher coverage level by 2017 if it were handed the bulk of the funds that could be made available by the state taking a portion of the TV licence fee to help support rural broadband rollouts.

United Kingdom, Virgin Media