Reading will join Greater Manchester and Southampton as the first cities to benefit from Virgin Media’s 1Gbps broadband upgrade.
The service, for subscribing customers, will be switched on today.
Virgin Media previously announced plans to deliver gigabit-capable cable broadband to one million customers by the end of the year. With the extension of the service to Reading and the surrounding areas, a quarter million customers in Berkshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire will be able to take up one of the provider’s lightning fast Gig1 connections. Speeds will be 25 times the current average download speed in Reading, Virgin claimed.
Virgin ultimately aims to bring gigabit connections to the entirety of their network—15 million premises—by 2021, with the next cities to benefit to be announced shortly.
Those living within the service’s footprint can subscribe, for prices starting at £62 a month, or £67 a month with a bundled landline calling and prices locked in for 24 months. Customers will also be able to bundle those speeds with TV offers, in Virgin’s “Ultimate Oomph” package, from £119 a month.
Speeds will average 1104Mbps downstream and 52Mbps upstream.
Customers will need new HUB 4.0, supplied by Virgin with sign-up, so they can access those speeds, however. Virgin’s old router, HUB 3.0, can only sustain speeds offered by their 500Mbps package.
Jeff Dodds, COO of Virgin Media, said: “This is a next-generation broadband boost for the residents of Reading.
“These hyperfast speeds are 25 times faster than Reading’s average broadband connection, meaning that households can do everything they want to do online, at the same time, without delay and are well set for whatever comes next.
“This is just one of many investments we’re making in Reading – with our brand new state-of-the-art office set to open next month. We’re committed to making the UK faster and will continue to roll out next-generation Gig1 broadband across our entire network over the next 24 months – a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else.”
Virgin Media will also be opening a new headquarters in Reading’s Green Park Business Park, with 1,300 staff.
Ellie Emberson, from Reading Borough Council, said: “Reading is already a major economic player in both the region and in the UK. The introduction of this level of broadband connectivity and speed is yet another major vote of confidence in Reading.”
Virgin Media is also continuing to expand its network to new locations. Its Project Lightning programme, launched in 2016 with the aim of connecting four million new premises, has already connected half that number. Virgin recently issued an update on the programme’s progress in Scotland, where they have spent £150 million to connect an additional 220,000 premises since 2016 and eventually aim to connect a total of 360,000 new locations by the end of 2020.