British cableco Virgin Media has unveiled plans to connect at least a quarter of the four million homes and businesses being added to its network under its ‘Project Lightning’ expansion programme with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology. The company aims to pass a total of 17 million premises with its network by 2019, claiming its plans represent the ‘single largest investment in the UK’s broadband infrastructure in more than a decade’. In a press release, the cableco confirmed it has already begun rolling out FTTP in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, while deployments are expected to commence ‘soon’ in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex. Virgin Media has noted it will deploy the fibre technology more quickly and at a lower cost in areas where demand is high, using new engineering techniques such a ‘narrow trenching’.
Since launching Project Lightning in February 2015, Virgin Media has connected 250,000 new premises and created 2,100 jobs in the UK. Looking ahead, the cableco expects to connect a further 500,000 premises and create another 500 jobs in the the country during 2016.
Commenting on the plans to deploy FTTP, Virgin Media chief executive Tom Mockridge was cited as saying: ‘Our GBP3 billion (USD4.4 billion) investment to bring ultrafast connectivity to more parts of the UK is not just about better broadband, it’s about future-proofing the country’s network infrastructure with the best and most modern technology … In just over one year we’ve laid enough new cable to stretch all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, reaching a quarter of a million more homes and businesses.’