Virgin expected to expand network in Ipswich and Felixstowe
- Credit: PA
Virgin Media is set to bring its superfast broadband to more premises in the Ipswich and Felixstowe area after announcing a £3 billion expansion in its network.
But it is not expected to extend its services to other parts of Suffolk – preferring to leave them to rivals BT and the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.
Virgin Media is set to create 6,000 jobs across the country under the plans announced yesterday.
The company, which is owned by US firm Liberty Global, has described the five year plan as the single biggest investment in broadband digital infrastructure in the UK for more than a decade.
It will extend its fibre network to around four million additional premises, taking the number of homes and business to which the company can offer services to nearly 17 million by 2020.
The expansion is expected to create 6,000 jobs in the UK at Virgin Media and its construction partners. It will also increase the number of apprenticeships created by the company to 1,000 over the next five years.
The company said its network expansion will be prioritised according to demand from households and companies, with a focus on areas closest to Virgin Media’s existing network.
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That is likely to mean the company’s services will be extended to parts of Ipswich and Felixstowe which missed out when its predecessor companies – East Coast Cable and NTL – were forced to scale back on network building in the 1990s.
Since then the company has concentrated on increasing the power of its broadband which is offered through fibre cables directly to homes and businesses – giving speeds of up to 154 MBps, much faster than those achieved through BT lines.
Prime Minister David Cameron backed the plans, which he said were helping to build “a superfast nation backed by world-class infrastructure”.
He added: “Together with the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain.”