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Virgin Media to charge electric vehicles with its broadband infrastructure

Virgin Media wants to recharge your Nissan Leaf as well as sell you ultrafast broadband. 

The cable ISP plans to install 1200 charging sites in residential areas across the UK over the next 18 months, following a successful trial in Southwark, London, with start-up Connected Kerb and Southwark Council.

Details of the new service – tentatively titled Virgin Media Park & Charge – are thin on the ground right now, but the basic idea is that the 40,000 street cabinets used to power the cable broadband network, will also supply power to EV (Electric Vehicle) chargers.

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It’s unclear exactly where Virgin Media Park & Charge points will spring up next, but several other local authorities, including councils in Belfast, Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Liverpool, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Southend on Sea, Wandsworth, Worcestershire and the West Midlands Combined Authority are also involved in the project.

Virgin Media’s network currently passes 15.2 million homes and businesses, with most of those addresses concentrated in cities and towns, so it’ll likely be inner city and suburban customers who’ll get to use Park & Charge first.

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Details on pricing are also unclear, although during the Connected Kerb trial in Southwark, ISP Review reported that users of the parking bay would be charged £3.50 an hour for a maximum of four hours to use the service.

While the service would be available to all electric car owners, it would be nice if Virgin Media customers were able to get a discount.

If the likes of BT, Hyperoptic, and Vodafone/CityFibre are able to leverage their infrastructure in a similar way, we could see ISPs competing with each other to offer cheaper – or free – charging rates in the future. Mobile calls, ultrafast broadband, and pay TV all while charging your Tesla Model S for less under one subscription? Sign us up.

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