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ISP Virgin Media UK Extends Network to 2,700 Manchester Homes

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 (7:19 am) - Score 1,483

A new wayleave (land access) agreement means that cable operator Virgin Media will now be able to extend their 500Mbps+ broadband and TV network to cover an additional 2,700 homes in the north of Manchester, which once completed will give them a total coverage in the metropolitan region of 714,000 premises.

The provider is currently knee deep into their £3bn Project Lightning network expansion, which since 2015/16 has been working to extend their Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / RFoG) based EuroDOCSIS network to an additional 3-4 million premises. So far they’ve completed over 1.7 million UK premises and some 94,000 of that build have been added across Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs.

The good news is that a further 2,700 premises in the north of Manchester now look set to be reached by the network after a new legal wayleave agreement was reached between Virgin Media, Northwards Housing and Manchester City Council. As a bonus the council has also promised a faster turnaround of future wayleave requests submitted by the operator.

Sadly it’s unclear precisely where the extra coverage will be built, not least since Northwards Housing manages City Council homes across the north of Manchester (quite a big area).

Paul Hutchinson, VM Regional Director for North West England, said:

“We are delighted to have secured this agreement which will make it much easier for us to rollout our ultrafast network to more homes, more quickly. Work is already underway and residents will soon be enjoying the benefits of our ultrafast broadband and entertainment.”

The revised 2017 Electronic Communications Code (ECC) was supposed to make securing wayleave agreements (i.e. access to private land and property) easier and cheaper but some of the changes have had to be tested via the courts, much as Virgin Media found out last year in Durham (here).

The Durham case was settled but Virgin believes the “process of acquiring wayleave access with local authorities could still be made simpler,” although they appear to have secured an amicable agreement in Manchester.

We should point out that the operator also recently joined the Tameside’s Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (here), which could help to facilitate future network upgrades in the region.

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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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