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Virgin Media UK Extend to Ballyclare and Portadown in Northern Ireland

Monday, July 2nd, 2018 (12:56 pm) - Score 792
virgin media cable van and two engineers

Cable ISP Virgin Media has announced that up to 5,000 properties in Ballyclare and 1,200 in Portadown, Northern Ireland, will be the next to gain access to their 350Mbps capable ultrafast broadband and TV services under the on-going £3bn Project Lightning network extension.

The work in Ballyclare is already underway and should complete by the end of 2019, while their smaller roll-out in Portadown is due to begin within the next few weeks and will then finish by the end of 2018. Overall VM expects to extend their Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and pure Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based EuroDOCSIS network to an additional 4 million premises by around 2019/20, which should push their UK coverage out to roughly 60% of premises.

Cllr Julie Flaherty, Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, said:

“This is brilliant news for Portadown. We are delighted to see ultrafast broadband being rolled out to up to 1,200 homes and businesses in the area. Whatever you do online can be done better with fibre broadband so investing in a network with speeds more than 16 times faster than the current average is a tremendous boost. Good connectivity is essential in the modern world with the rise of on-line services, and it allows businesses and homes to make the most of the internet.”

Cllr Paul Michael, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, added:

“It is fantastic to see Virgin Media invest in our Borough to ensure up to 5,000 homes will have access to fibre broadband connectivity. This improved technology and investment in our economy, helps contribute to making our Borough a better place to live, work and play.”

Virgin Media says they intend to make use of narrow trenching techniques as part of the roll-out and will also be posting information leaflets to premises that might be affected. The latter usually occurs at least a week before the work starts on a street, although some have previously complained that they needed more notice.

A Local Community Liaison Officer will also be available to debate any local concerns and several related public information events are now being planned in order to discuss the work. Details will apparently be “promoted in local shop windows and on social media“.

Interestingly the operator also describes their lines as being “gigabit-ready,” which is perhaps a hint toward their future desire to adopt the new DOCSIS 3.1 standard that should be able to deliver downstream speeds of 1Gbps+. Sadly Virgin Media has yet to announce any customer trials or even plans for the new upgrade.

The deployment appears to form part of the provider’s previous commitment to cover an additional 50,000 premises in Northern Ireland, which was made last August 2017 (here).Virgin recently completed a big chunk of that by enabling 24,000 extra premises in Bangor (here).

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