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By: MarkJ - 15 February, 2012 (1:27 AM)
ukvirgin media uk best broadband ispCable giant Virgin Media has today responded to recent criticism from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and Perthshire Chamber of Commerce (PCC), which have both accused the ISP of ignoring "homes and businesses in the countryside" in favour of upgrading their urban broadband infrastructure. But Virgin claims that its "doors have always been open" to finding a solution.

The CLA's Head of Rural Development, Dr Charles Trotman, warned last week (here) that, "Virgin Media’s latest rollout ignores homes and businesses in the countryside to give areas that already have good broadband even faster connections". A few days later PCC's President, Stephen Leckie, added, "there is no doubt [Virgin Media] is leaving many rural areas at the bottom of the league table as broadband backwaters" (here).

A VirginMedia Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

"Our doors have always been open to the CLA and other groups to try to find solutions to the problem of poor connectivity in rural areas. We have invested over £13 billion of private money in building our network to half the country and, while we continue to expand our reach, we are doing so within our own means."

The response appears to be an acceptance of Trotman's request for "urgent talks" with the operator, although it remains to be seen whether anything constructive will emerge. At the same time Virgin Media remains a private company and is not subject to all of the same strict requirements as BT Group, which was formerly owned by the state and has significantly greater coverage.

It is perhaps even a little unfair to expect Virgin Media to adhere to similar (BT) responsibilities, especially given its limited geographic coverage and company history, although that's not to say that they should just ignore the issue.

In fairness Virgin has run special trials in the rural Berkshire village of Woolhampton (here) and is working alongside Fujitsu on a significantly largely FTTH project, although doubts continue to be cast over the latter's feasibility (here).
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