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Virgin Media UK Joins Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative

Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2019 (2:48 pm) - Score 4,376

Cable ISP Virgin Media has today announced that they’ve joined the Tameside’s Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (TDIC), which should enable them to further extend their broadband network via commercial re-use of around 50km of existing local authority owned cable ducts and fibre optic cable.

At present only around half of premises in Tameside (Greater Manchester) can access “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) speeds and nearly all of that comes from Virgin Media’s cable (EuroDOCSIS) network, plus a little bit of Openreach’s (BT) hybrid fibre G.fast. Sadly Gigabit capable “full fibre” (FTTP) providers have only the smallest of coverage, but that may soon change.

The TDIC is an independent Cooperative Society registered under the 2014 Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act, which means that it is regulated by the FCA as a mutual society. Essentially what this enables it to do is take a large amount of existing council owned infrastructure and make it available at the passive layer (Dark Fibre) for re-use by commercial ISPs.

No complex shareholder or clawback agreements are required for this and the public sector retains ownership, while the cooperative structure ensures the infrastructure remains neutral (i.e. access is non-discriminatory and non-exclusive). The Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme is supporting TDIC with a £2m investment.

Tony Reddington, VM’s Project Lightning Build Director, said:

“I am very much looking forward to working with the Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative and supporting its aims to maximise the availability of high capacity digital infrastructure across the region . Having overseen recent Project Lightning investment in Tameside, including the expansion of our fibre network to over 7,000 premises in Hurst, I am passionate about supporting the region’s digital ambitions.”

Bill Fairfoull, Deputy Leader of Tameside Council, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Virgin Media to the Digital Infrastructure Cooperative which is continuing to go from strength to strength and I am sure that they will quickly reap the benefits that working in a mutual way can bring.

Virgin Media is already making significant investments in fibre to the premise in Tameside and we are hoping that having ready access to the Coop’s extensive dark fibre network, will make further investments from them economically viable.

The Cooperative, which is only a little over 12 months old, can now count a growing number of high profile national telecommunications operators, as well as leading local fibre operators in its membership. I am sure that Virgin Media’s reputation in the market along with their wealth of experience will help encourage other service providers and other local authority areas to join.”

A number of other ISPs have also joined TDIC, although sadly the press release doesn’t spell out precisely how Virgin Media’s participation will change the cable operator’s local roll-out plan. At the very least it may save them some money, as opposed to having to build more of their own new ducts in certain specific areas.

Interestingly the TDIC actually plans to expand beyond Tameside and so it will soon become known as a big Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (DIC). We should point out that the DIC’s network also slots into The Loop (managed by Gamma), which is a 170km long fibre network (here) that rings its way around central Manchester. [Insert pun about sounding like a good night out].

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Joe says:

    “will soon become known as a big Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (DIC). ”

    Oh you were enjoying yourself weren’t you 😀

  2. Avatar photo Ian Stewart says:

    Sounds good as long as it comes off the way they say it will .BT said wonderful things about their new hub and disc’s for around the home . They said that they promised broadband speeds would not be under 53 mg . I had 4 open reach engineer’s out to try to fix the problems. The last engineer said BT say these things to costumer’s but they can’t give them what they say . I think that it’s miss selling on BT’S part . They said that they had credited my account £45 pounds and had taken off the £9.99 postage charge . Making me £55 .oo in credit . My monthly bill was around £56: per month so one would think that I wouldn’t have a bill or if so it would be at most a couple of pounds . I got a bill for £35 odds . Phoned them up and tried to explain but got nowhere . So virgin is going in £32 a month no price rises and 100 odd mg . Can’t beat it .

    1. Avatar photo Richard Blane says:

      Hi Ian and anyone else who are interested in switching to Virgin.

      My name is Richard Blane. I work for Virgin Media (in sales and installations). I cover the North West.
      I would be happy to have a look on our systems at your postcode to get you the quickest possible install date. Plus I always have deals not available online.

      I can be contacted on 07708249311 or email richard.blane@virginmedia.co.uk

      Hope I can help.

      Best regards


Comments are closed

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