British cableco Virgin Media has named the next 30 communities which will gain access to its network, with it noting these had been voted for by local residents and businesses. In a press release confirming the infrastructure rollout plans, Virgin Media said this formed the next stage of its ‘Supercharging Local Communities’ initiative, with the premises in the selected locations expected to be connectable via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology by spring 2017.
Alongside revealing the locations where it will deploy its infrastructure next, Virgin Media also confirmed its FTTP expansion is using ‘an innovative way of bringing ultrafast broadband to people’s homes with minimal disruption’. The approach, called narrow-trenching, reportedly reduces the width of the trench used to lay optical fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm and enables engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, which the operator has claimed makes it more than twice as fast as current methods.
Launched earlier this year, the initiative is part of Virgin Media’s £3bn Project Lightning network expansion, and with the operator having announced the first ten communities for rollout in May 2016, the next 30 locations are in various areas of the country, including: Surrey, Oxfordshire, West Midlands, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Worcestershire, West Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Rhondda, Staffordshire and Bridgend.
Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer, said of the matter: ‘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.’