Virgin Media offers rural fibre broadband

Virgin Media

A campaign at the local level, in collaboration with Virgin Media, has brought fibre broadband to rural communities in Hampshire.

Up to 4,000 residents in 12 villages in the Test Valley Dun Valley will be able to access the “ultra-fast” internet by the end of 2019.

Currently, it is almost impossible for residents and businesses in these areas, download, transmit, or upload files.

The scheme to provide them with a 350Mbps connection.

In order for the network roll-out to be commercially viable, at least 30% of the residents had to register their interest in having such a service.

The telecoms provider is also required at least 1,000 residents to commit to broadband services contract.

The Financial Times has reported that each client will face a £300 connection fee.

While Virgin Media is already active in other rural areas, up to now it has done so by extending the existing urban fabric operations. What makes the new system unique is that the network is being built from scratch.The commitment of the community

Virgin Media told broadband, attorney for the community groups that represent the 12 villages contacted in 2016, asking the company to bring its fibre-optic network to their area.

As a result, the telecommunications service provider is not hard to get residents to commit. The project has attracted a sign-up rate, an average of 38% between the valleys, while some villages had a take-up 78%.

“Virgin Media’s commitment to this project has been fantastic and I am very pleased to see how quickly the build is already started”, said Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North.

“Access to fast broadband is essential for modern life, and before this project, four wards in my constituency were in the lowest 10% of the speed of broadband in the country.

“That changes this year and I’m happy for all those who will soon have a 21st century infrastructure in their community.”Disappointed in BT

Independent telecommunications analyst Ian Grant said that residents in rural areas, are increasingly turning to rural initiatives because “disappointed” by BT.

BT owns the infrastructure provider Openreach, which owns almost all of the telephone cables, exchanges, cabinets and conduits in the UNITED kingdom.

“Every single county council in the country have given their fiber contracts to BT and BT has not rolled out fibre to rural communities, to all of you,” he told the BBC.

“They put the fibre to the cabinets of the road, but many people in rural communities live too far away from the speakers to be able to access high-speed broadband.”
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Mr. Grant thinks that BT has missed an opportunity, because even in rural areas, people need the internet. Apart from recreational use, farmers need a reliable internet connection because they need to file regular reports to the Department of Environment, food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

However, he does not think that Virgin Media will begin to provide a fibre-optic network in all rural areas.

“It’s much more convenient for the service of a group of people in a condo in an urban area, which is at the service of a pastor in a Cumbrian hill,” he explained.

“To build a network, you want to build for the adjacent areas. Virgin prefers to stay close to the cities of the south, so as to add a shortcut to a nearby area is accessible, but if you have to go so far out of the area, it is very expensive.”Research of alternative solutions

It is likely that more communities will ask telecommunications service providers to build a network of promising to take contracts, he says, or by starting their own non-profits, businesses, and invest to build private networks, as seen with the broadband in the Rural North (B4RN).

“People in rural areas feel neglected by BT, and are willing to talk with someone who is ready to give them a better service,” said mr. Grant.

Openreach has told the BBC: “No company is investing more than Openreach to improve the provision of broadband services throughout Britain.

“We have spent £11bn on the improvement of our network in the last ten years, thanks in large part to our work at the side of the government, 95% of the country, you can order a superfast broadband service.”

Openreach added that it is also the upgrade of three million households and businesses “full-fibre” broadband technology by the end of 2020.

Regulator Ofcom has reported that 98% of uk homes could access broadband with speeds of 10 megabits per second or faster at the beginning of 2017 – a higher proportion than France, Germany or Spain.

But he added that the UK “has continued to trail”, the availability of “ultra-fast” products, providing 300Mbps or more.