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Virgin Media Finish FTTP Broadband Build in Shildon and Templepatrick

Monday, November 4th, 2019 (9:51 am) - Score 2,618

Broadband ISP Virgin Media UK has announced that they’ve completed the deployment of their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based “ultrafast broadband” network to 2,000 extra premises in the town of Shildon (Durham, England) and 600 premises in Templepatrick (N.Ireland), which can now access download speeds of 516Mbps (soon 1Gbps).

The work is part of Virgin Media’s on-going Project Lightning linked effort to extend their network coverage out to an additional 16,000 premises across Durham by the end of 2019, which was delayed a bit last year due to an initial dispute over local fees for land access (here). Thankfully that was settled some time ago and the work has been proceeding at pace ever since.

Locals in Shildon will also be able to get even faster speeds (1Gbps) once Virgin Media has completed their UK rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 technology by the end of 2021 (here).

Hugh Woolford, VM’s Regional Director for North East and Yorkshire, said:

“We are delighted to have finished our expansion in Shildon. Good quality, fast broadband is a staple of modern-day life, so it’s fantastic news that now more than 2,000 residents and small businesses in Shildon can access the UK’s fastest widely available network.”

Despite this we do wish that Virgin Media would take a leaf out of Openreach’s book and issue a more comprehensive forward rollout plan, as opposed to piecemeal announcements about completed coverage.

UPDATE 10:41am

Since posting this Virgin Media has also announced the completion of their build to 600 premises in the tiny Northern Ireland town of Templepatrick, which is home to just 2,500 people.

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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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19 Responses
  1. Avatar David

    Great! now please come and infill out estate – 100M from the main road where there is service and 2800 houses here all on under 20Mbps FTTC! We are only 40 miles from Durham I am sure it will stretch! you would hoover up the customers here.

    • “only 40 miles” :), there’s nothing “only” about that distance to a new fibre optic network. What community is this? Still at that distance Virgin Media may well have a network nearer to you than Shildon.

    • Avatar David


    • Alas you’re a rural community and so may have more chance of getting FTTH via B4RN than an urban focused provider like Virgin Media, which is never going to reach you. You also appear to be roughly equidistant from Virgin’s other networks in Darlington, Lancaster and Carlise.

    • Avatar Archie

      @David as Mark has pointed out, alt-nets would be your best bet. Get in contact with some. Speaking from personal experience many of them will be chomping at the bit to hear from you!

    • Avatar David

      Thanks for the advice Gents. I will contact a few and see what happens. Our whole village could benefit. I know there are a fair few here that would benefit. We are on exchange NEWBIGGIN-ON-LUNE and max possible is 26.4 but I get the lower end which is 15/1.9 – the pub can get 22/4.1 so we use their wifi when we need to upload something!

    • Avatar Barry Forde

      Interesting! We (B4RN) have recently completed our FTTH build of Cautley Parish which butts up against Ravenstonedale’s southern boundary. The Cross Keys Hotel is our nearest point of approach but we have fibre available for expansion north into Ravenstonedale. We stopped at the boundary as your county councillor advised my planners that she had organised FTTP with BT some years ago and hence there was no need nor demand for B4RN (Fell End project?). So instead we have taken the next valley along and are building up Mallerstang and Nateby towards Kirkby Stephen. If we have got this wrong and there is interest let me know and we can revisit. Whats your postcode?

    • Avatar David

      Hi, so are you just going straight up the A683? I know that place and it’s about 2 miles from me. I live a few doors up from the Black Swan so we are CA17 4NG


    • Avatar Barry Forde

      Probably better to take this off line. Could you email me at b.forde@b4rn.org.uk and we can discuss option. regards Barry

  2. Avatar Archie

    “Despite this we do wish that Virgin Media would take a leaf out of Openreach’s book and issue a more comprehensive forward rollout plan, as opposed to piecemeal announcements about completed coverage.”

    Wholeheartedly agree with this point. Why do you think they don’t do this?

    • I’m guessing they may view it as commercially sensitive information, although many of their commercial rivals still seem to release more details about their rollout locations and time-scales than Virgin do.

    • Avatar Archie


      Thanks for the info. Their Gig1 rollout seems to be happening quickly, this is what most interests me in terms of their plans (in Leicestershire).

    • Avatar beany

      Id have to disagree with the “take a leaf out of Openreach’s book” bit. The information they provide is either meaningless for many or just gets hopes up.

      From what i have seen on here they announce whole towns or counties which are to get FTTC/FTTP. When in reality not everyone in the areas they announce end up getting those services.

      Their “Ultrafast” figures i also find a little misleading. The total figure they often give is for FTTP and G.Fast premises passed. Well G.Fast passes my property, the cabinet im connected to has a G.Fast pod, but i can not have it because im too far from the cabinet.

      OH and YES i am more than likely included in their ‘done’ figures before a BT statesman says i will not be, my town was on one of their random lists one month and included in their figures the following months as being done. The checker for my phone number and postcode says available also, but they will not sell it too me as i they can not guarantee the minimum 100Mb (or whatever it is figure now). SO nope im not ultrafast capable.

      Id sooner have a list of actual facts about how many properties have been done and can actually have the service and speeds stated, which seems to be what Virgin are doing, even if it comes after they have completed.

  3. Avatar Somerset

    Also building in Weston-super-Mare.

  4. Avatar Stevie

    Also, Virign Media are currently building in Ballymena, NI.


    Strange gow they’ve bipassed Newton aycliffe when the major trunk fibre runs past it to Shildon and Bishop Auckland.

  6. Avatar Mike

    They are laying cables in bishop Auckland outside our house over the last couple of weeks, the nearest cab is in place and looks like it has been populated and set up.

    Does anyone know how long it normally takes before their postcode checker shows that we may be in an eligible area as ours still shows as unavailable.

    • Avatar G Davison

      No idea, live in etherley dene area which currently doesn’t seem to be on virgins radar, really don’t understand how they are rolling out in Bishop Auckland

  7. Avatar Mark Furnell

    What service is being installed on Etherley Lane Bishop Auckland ??
    There has been no warning to residents at all.

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