Virgin Media has added Liverpool and Edinburgh to the list of cities to benefit from its gigabit-capable network upgrade.
More than 600,000 premises—380,000 in Liverpool and 250,000 in Edinburgh—will soon to be able to access gigabit speeds on Virgin’s network, joining the nearly two million already in the process of being connected.
Currently, speeds on Virgin’s cable and full-fibre networks top out at 600Mbps downstream. The DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade boosts potential speeds to 1104Mbps downstream, making it the fastest widely available broadband in the UK.
However, the upgrade applies only to download speeds, so upload speeds on the Gig1 package still lag at 52Mbps, the same as on the 600Mbps plan.
Jeff Dodds, COO at Virgin Media, said: “Whether people are working from home, learning or gaming online, video calling friends and family or binging on a box set in 4K, with Gig1’s hyperfast speeds, more than 17 times faster than UK’s average, busy households can do everything they want online, at the same time, without delay.”
The upgrade has already targeted Greater Manchester, Southampton, Reading, parts of the Home Counties and the West Midlands. The addition of Liverpool and Edinburgh will take coverage to 2.7 million homes and businesses, or around 20% of Virgin’s footprint. Virgin has plans to reach all 15 million premises on its network by 2021, with more cities to be announced later this year.
Dodds added: “Through continued investment, we’ll be bringing this next-generation connectivity to many more cities this year as we rollout gigabit broadband across our entire network at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else. Whatever the future holds, we’re connecting our customers to what’s next.”
Customers in connected areas can sign up to Virgin’s Gig1 standalone-broadband packages for £62 per month, on an 18-month term and with a guaranteed prize freeze for at least 24 months. Gig1 broadband can also be bundled with Virgin’s expansive TV plans, for an additional monthly charge. Subscribed households are then sent a new HUB 4.0 router to lasso the elevated speeds.
Virgin recently announced it is boosting speeds for all customers signed up to its premium Oomph broadband and TV bundle to 600Mbps at no additional cost. Additionally, its 516Mbps broadband tier, previously only available with the nearly $100 per month Oomph bundle, will be accessible through broadband-only plans from later this month.
The government has pledged to connect all UK households and businesses to gigabit-capable internet by 2025, with a lot of the coverage to be achieved single-handedly by Virgin. Additionally, Openreach has announced plans to connect 20 million premises to its gigabit full-fibre network by the mid-2020s.
However, reaching the last 20% of premises will be very costly, requiring at least £5 billion of public investment and the use of other internet technologies, such as mobile and fixed wireless.
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