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Virgin Media U-turn – Agrees to Extend Cable Broadband in Central Wargrave

Monday, September 25th, 2017 (11:03 am) - Score 1,032
virgin media engineer street works

Residents of central Wargrave (Berkshire) have been told that cable operator Virgin Media will now expand their ultrafast broadband and TV network to cover around the High Street, which follows an earlier decision not to proceed due to a lack of demand and fears over the potential for major disruption.

The large village was originally one of several selected for deployment as part of the operator’s “Supercharging Local Communities” campaign (i.e. those with the strongest demand were chosen to be upgraded), which was setup to help promote Virgin Media’s £3bn Project Lighting network expansion to an additional 4 million UK premises.

However in July 2017 the deployment hit a snag (here) after the operator confirmed that several central streets would not benefit (High Street, Ferry Lane and Church Street), not least because they had shown low demand for the service and the work would require a key road junction (School Lane) to be closed; this could create a diversion of up to 12 miles (i.e. lots of angry locals and commuters = bad publicity).

On top of that some of the local pavements were very narrow and already contained gas and electricity mains, which added to the complexity. The decision was understandable, although it now appears as if the operator has had a change of heart (Henley Standard).

A Spokesperson for Virgin Media said:

“As Virgin Media continues to expand its fibre broadband network in Wargrave, we endeavour to minimise disruption for residents and businesses, which is why we originally took the decision not to extend our cables along High Street.

We are delighted to have received huge amounts of support and are now pleased to announce that we will be bringing ultrafast connectivity to Wargrave High Street.”

The reference to “huge amounts of support” suggests that local people have since shown strong enough demand to make the effort viable again, although there’s no word on whether Virgin Media has found a new approach to help reduce the level of disruption involved. Otherwise the work around High Street, Church Street and Ferry Lane is being prepared for October, although we’ve yet to see it crop up on a public roadworks notice.

It’s worth pointing out that Openreach (BT) and Gigaclear have also been installing their own “fibre broadband” (FTTC and some FTTP) infrastructure around parts of the village.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. Avatar Smallal

    Never take Virgin’s word on anything. My area was being cabled by Telewest when they ran into financial trouble & stopped works (having installed the street cabinets & cabled about 5% of the properties). A few years later Virgin reps came round to say they now owned the network so would be finishing off the job, & was I still interested. It must be well over 10 years ago & work has yet to start!

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