Virgin Media Business, the division of Virgin Media that provides products and services to UK businesses, today unveiled plans to connect tens of thousands more businesses to ultrafast broadband as part of its £3 billion Project Lightning network expansion by the end of 2019.
Initially targeting underserved business parks and office blocks within reach of its existing optical fibre network, Virgin Media Business will build its 300Mbps network to the first 9,000 businesses in the next six months beginning with two business parks in Andover, Hampshire.
The investment from Virgin Media Business will help more businesses capitalise on the £92 billion potential opportunity offered by the digital age. This was revealed in a report commissioned by Virgin Media last year and shows that digital technologies could provide a boost to the economy equivalent to 2.5% of GDP.
Virgin Media also hopes this expansion will help it deliver the UK’s fastest widely available broadband to further residential areas.
Mike Smith, Director at Virgin Media Business, said: “Too many business parks and office blocks are stuck in the analogue age and business tenants are suffering as a result. With our ultrafast network we can make a big impact to thousands of businesses across the country.”
Andover businesses in the starting blocks
The first sites to benefit from Virgin Media Businesses investment will be the Portway and Walworth Business Parks in Andover, Hampshire, which cover 150 hectares supporting hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.
The arrival of the new services, which was made possible by the work of Test Valley Borough Council, is already being welcomed by local businesses which had typically accessed download speeds of just 5Mbps and is expected to attract more digitally-driven businesses to the area.
Test Valley Borough Council’s Economic Portfolio Holder, Councillor Peter Giddings, said:
“High bandwidth and affordable broadband is an essential utility for everyone. Businesses on traditional commercial areas seem to have been left behind as the rollout of next generation access broadband is taking place across Test Valley.
“We’re delighted Virgin Media Business has chosen Andover because of its continuing growth potential. This is the perfect opportunity for businesses to register their interest in a new broadband service for Andover so I would urge businesses to take advantage of this.”
Mike Smith added: “Thanks to the support and cooperation of Test Valley Borough Council, the Portway and Walworth business parks will soon rival anywhere in the UK when it comes to digital capacity. Existing tenants will be able to do more with digital and new types of business will be attracted to the area.”
Philip Hadfield, Director of Stratfords Commercial, one of Andover’s leading commercial agents, said: “Broadband is a key issue in companies’ decisions whether to come to Andover. Anything which promotes greater choice in terms of affordable, high quality broadband will be an enormous asset and help Andover’s competitive advantage as it grows.”