More than 7,000 homes and businesses in Sunderland, the UK, will be next to access Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband as the provider expands its network under the ‘Project Lightning’ programme, which aims to provide speeds up to 362Mb/s in the region.
The expansion, which takes take place across Shiney Row, Penshaw and Silksworth, will aim to transform the quality of broadband in the town where the average (median) download speed is currently 36.6Mb/s (according to the Ofcom Connected Nations Report 2017). Virgin Media says that the construction will use narrow trenching techniques where conditions allow in order to create minimal waste and reduce the disruption to the community.
Hugh Woolford, regional director for Yorkshire and North East at Virgin Media, said: ‘More families and small businesses across Sunderland will soon be benefiting from our brilliant broadband service. Giving them greater speeds will enable them to do the things they need to do and love doing more quickly and more easily. Laying new fibre means we will have to dig up roads and pavements, but we will do our best to minimise any disruption to the community.’
Sunderland City Council leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, added: ‘We’re delighted that Virgin Media is continuing to invest in the city. This is fantastic news for Sunderland and will provide a major boost to residents and businesses. This investment fits perfectly with our ambitions to establish the city as a digital pioneer and we are working closely with Virgin Media, who are a major employer in the region, to ensure disruption to residents is kept to a minimum and the process is as smooth as possible.’
Work is currently underway with completion expected by the end of 2019.