Superfast broadband comes to Cambridgeshire village

16th September 2014

  • Papworth residents to enjoy superfast 1Gb broadband
  • Innovative trial could reduce cost of broadband roll-out by 33%
  • Potential to double rate of network expansion

Residents of the Cambridgeshire village of Papworth are trialling an innovative new way of rolling-out superfast broadband. Virgin Media is bringing superfast 1Gb broadband to the village and using a new method which could reduce the cost of any network roll-out by 33%. The approach, called narrow-trenching, reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm and enables engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, making it more than twice as fast as current methods.

100 households in Papworth will be able to sign up for a supercharged 1Gb trial service1, enabling them to surf the web at supersonic speeds, downloading a HD movie in just 42 seconds. Hundreds more households across Papworth will be able to enjoy 152Mb broadband from Virgin Media, the UK’s fastest widely available broadband.

Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s Chief Customer, Networks and Technology Officer, said: “Virgin Media continues to push the boundaries of broadband, launching the UK’s first superfast service in 2008 and boosting Virgin Media homes yet again with 152Mb broadband launched this year. We know our network is unbeatable and we are excited to bring 1Gb to the people of Papworth as they help us explore a new way of rolling out our network faster and more cost-effectively.”

Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Sajid Javid said: “Virgin Media is to be commended for their continued exploration and development of new technologies which are helping transform the UK’s digital landscape. Virgin Media’s continued investment in the expansion of their network, together with Government’s own rollout of superfast broadband to rural areas, is already playing a significant role in driving the UK’s economic growth.”

Nicola Debnam, Head of Local Infrastructure and Street Management, Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Cambridgeshire County Council welcomes the commercial provision of fibre broadband and supports new innovation in bringing broadband services to the county. This complements our Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership programme to improve the county’s digital infrastructure to drive economic growth and ensure businesses, residents and public services can make the most of opportunities offered by the digital age. Rolling-out fibre broadband is a complex engineering challenge and the Council welcomes the development of the new trenching techniques such as these being trialled by Virgin Media and John Henry Group, which can help to minimise disruption to highways and the environment while improving the network."

Virgin Media’s award-winning broadband is delivered by its superior fibre optic network, available to 12.7 million UK homes. The company’s current 152Mb service means you can download an entire TV show in one minute but Virgin Media’s broadband really comes into its own as more households use multiple devices online all at the same time.

Peak internet use by Virgin Media households has grown 55% in the past year and has increased by almost 1000% since the company’s launch in 2007. It is for this reason that Virgin Media is busy boosting broadband speeds for existing customers this year: 30Mb customers can boost to 50Mb, 60Mb to 100Mb and 120Mb can get 152Mb.

Virgin Media recently announced plans to expand its network to another 100,000 homes in East London. A further 45,000 homes in western Scotland and north west England are benefitting from the UK’s fastest widely available broadband and the most advanced TV entertainment service following Virgin Media’s acquisition of Smallworld Fibre earlier this year.

Virgin Media has invested over £13 billion in its network and continues to invest hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

Virgin Media has partnered with John Henry Group to trial narrow-trenching in Papworth.

Notes to editors

1 Virgin Media will contact homes eligible for the 1Gb trial over the coming weeks.

About Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. And we’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises.

Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones.

We launched the world’s first virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services to customers. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.

Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries.