Virgin Media has officially launched a new expansion scheme that will see cable internet access given to 4 million new premises across the UK.
The program, dubbed “Project Lightning”, will take approximately five years to complete.
The internet service provider is kicking off the scheme today in Manchester with the addition of 150,000 new homes and offices to Virgin Media’s cable network.
The company has yet to announce where it will rollout the network next, but it’s promised that it will prioritise connections “according to demand from consumers and businesses.” If you’re keen to get in on the action, you can register interest here.
Project Lightning will grow Virgin’s network from its current reach of approximately 13 million homes and offices.
By 2020, it’s expected that Virgin Media will cover 17 million premises, costing around £3 billion.
“This is wonderful news for Manchester residents and businesses,” explained Ed Vaizey, the UK’s digital economy minister, speaking about the project's Manchester launch.
He continued: “We are in the midst of a remarkable transformation of the UK’s digital landscape, and Virgin Media’s £3 billion investment will play an important role in ensuring our cities are fully equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age in which we live.”
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Virgin Media is playing catch-up however, as Openreach – BT’s infrastructure division – currently reaches north of 20 million premises with its superfast network.
Regardless, it’s still great news for customers as more people will have access to a network that currently offers speeds of up to 152Mbps.
What’s more, the EuroDOCSIS 3.0 cable network Virgin Media currently employs is theoretically capable of speeds around 1,200Mbps, so it’s a good investment in the nation’s infrastructure.
Virgin claims 6,000 jobs will also be created over the next five years thanks to the network, and says its plans are worth around £8 billion to the UK economy.
Check out the launch video below: