Virgin to Invest £3bn in Broadband

Virgin Media has announced its plans to invest £3bn in improving its fibre optic broadband network, increasing the network's reach from 13 million to 17 million homes.

It says this is the biggest investment in broadband infrastructure in the UK for more than a decade.

Virgin said the investment would create 6,000 new jobs of which 1,000 would be apprenticeships.

The investment comes as Virgin Media announced a 2.3% increase in total revenues to £4.21bn for the year to the end of December, compared with a year earlier.

Virgin Media currently has more than five million customers and is already in the process of expanding its network to 110,000 homes across east London, Glasgow, Sunderland and Teeside.

Virgin Media said the additional £3bn in broadband investment would be worth £8bn in terms of stimulating UK economic activity. The money will, however, be spent on filling in gaps in its existing network, rather than widening the network to rural areas.

Virgin chief executive Tom Mockridge believes it is BT's job to do more to bridge the so-called digital divide.

He said: "I think an investment of this size is unambiguously helping to close the digital divide. Everything can't happen at once so we are really focusing on the areas where we can bring ultra-fast broadband as quickly as possible and as effectively as possible."

He has called on BT to do more to invest in improving existing infrastructure to help speed up internet services in the countryside.

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