West Midlands to get access to ultrafast Virgin home broadband

In what is the UK’s largest gigabit switch-on to date, more than a million homes across the West Midlands are set to benefit from the region’s fastest gigabit home broadband service which boasts speeds up to 20 times quicker than the current regional average.

Following continued investment in the region, Virgin Media will switch on its next-generation Gig1 Fibre Broadband services in early March in Birmingham and Coventry – the first cities to benefit from the service this year – as well as surrounding areas across the West Midlands.

This forms part of Virgin Media’s plan to roll out gigabit speeds to more than 15 million homes across its network by the end of 2021 – delivering half of the Government’s broadband ambition four years early.

To mark the upcoming launch of the next-generation service in the West Midlands, Oliver Dowden CBE, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Andy Street CBE, Mayor of the West Midlands, visited Virgin Media’s National Apprenticeship Centre at its Eagle Court office in Birmingham.

The centre is home to more than 1000 Virgin Media employees and is where hundreds of apprentices are trained in a variety of roles ranging from field operations to network engineering – all playing a vital role in Virgin Media’s gigabit rollout and network expansion.

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said: “Virgin Media is delivering on its promises, putting its money where its mouth is and bringing next-generation broadband to its entire network. Switching on gigabit speeds for more than a million homes in the West Midlands, the UK’s largest gigabit rollout to date, will be a leap forward for the region and a big step for the Government’s gigabit broadband ambition.

“From gaming to streaming, Gig1’s hyperfast speeds will mean that households can do everything they want to do online, at the same time and without delay, with millions of more homes set to benefit this year as we bring this next-generation connectivity to more cities around the UK.”

Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Today’s announcement means we’re a million homes closer in delivering our plans to deliver gigabit broadband to everyone in the UK. We’re working closely with companies like Virgin Media and investing £5 billion to ensure the hardest to reach areas aren’t left behind – so that every part of the country can enjoy the benefits of a world class internet connection.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Connectivity like this has the potential to make life easier for people here in the West Midlands and is sure to help our businesses and economy grow. I’ve spoken frequently on the need for good, reliable connectivity in the region and Virgin Media’s investment here in network expansion is an important step towards making the West Midlands one of the best connected places in the country.”

Gig1 Fibre Broadband – faster speeds, new router and competitive pricing

As broadband data use increases tenfold every seven years, this service provides the connectivity needed for future applications like 8K streaming, cloud gaming and virtual reality telepresence without the need to dig up roads and streets to install new cables.

The hyperfast Gig1 Fibre Broadband service offers an average peak-time download speed of 1,104Mbps.

Customers taking Gig1 will benefit from Virgin Media’s new and best ever equipped gigabit capable router – the Hub 4. The new router is Virgin Media’s fastest to date and features improved WiFi hardware to provide speedy and reliable connectivity throughout customers’ homes.

The Hub 4 boasts more antennae than its predecessor, the Hub 3, meaning it can manage multiple devices at the same time around the home which can all share the hyperfast speed.

The new router makes use of the operator’s next generation broadband technology, known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it will deploy across its entire cable network over time.

The power of Gig1 Fibre Broadband

With Virgin Media’s hyperfast gigabit connection, ultra-high definition 4K films and TV programmes, very large files and 360 degree videos can be downloaded almost instantaneously, even with multiple devices using the connection simultaneously. The connection will also support innovative technologies like virtual and augmented reality headsets, cloud gaming and futuristic immersive in-home entertainment.

A recently published report for Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, by leading economists Oxera, found that the rollout of gigabit broadband will lead to transformative changes in the way people interact, socialise, work and stay healthy. The report says the widespread rollout of gigabit broadband will lead to major benefits to society and dramatically improve people’s lives by improving the quality and availability of healthcare services, reduce time lost travelling, help in the fight against climate change and create new ways of interacting with friends and family.

Virgin Media has the largest gigabit-capable network in the UK which currently passes nearly 15 million UK premises. The network consists of both fibre-rich cable and fibre connected directly to the premises, both of which can provide customers with gigabit speeds.

Virgin Media, through its Project Lightning programme, is also continuing to expand its ultrafast network to more homes and businesses across the UK. More than 2 million premises have been added to Virgin Media’s gigabit capable network since the project began.

Virgin Media will announce which further cities are set to benefit from its Gig1 Fibre Broadband service later in the year as it continues its national gigabit rollout plan. Last year, the company launched gigabit broadband services in Southampton, Greater Manchester and Reading.

Customers can find out more about Gig1 Fibre Broadband at www.virginmedia.com/gig1

Duncan Newell

Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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