Manchester and the ten councils that comprise the urban sprawl in the area has been chosen as the starting point for Project Lightning with Virgin Media looking to add an extra 150,000 premises to its cable broadband footprint in the city.
"Our message is simple: help us to cable your street. If you want to switch to broadband speeds twice as fast as you can get today, simply register with Virgin Media to ‘cablemystreet'."Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media Chief Executive Officer
The twice as fast comments are echoed in the press release but once Sky and TalkTalk go live with their own ultrafast services in York may need rewording, already the presence of Hyperoptic in Manchester means that careful wording is used in the press release and mention of upload speeds is avoided.
The potential change across the city is that the roll-out may boost ultrafast coverage by 10 to 15%, and may also fill in some of the superfast coverage gaps too, of course this all depends on exactly where the roll-out goes so it will be interesting to here reports from the public on where the roll-out is underway and who will be covered by the first wave of 20,000 extra premises.
|thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast and Cable Broadband
Coverage in Manchester City council areas - 22nd June 2015
In ascending order of cable coverage
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast (>30 Mbps)||% cable||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 5 Mbps (new USO)||% Under 15 Mbps|
|Manchester City Council||91.3%||90.7%||56.2%||0%||0.2%||1.2%||4.5%|
The coverage of superfast broadband across Manchester already meets the 2015 targets, and apart from the city council area itself the other 9 councils exceed or are very close to the 2017 targets, so the extra coverage at ultrafast speeds from the Virgin Media roll-out will be the icing on the cake.
"This is wonderful news for Manchester residents and businesses. We are in the midst of a remarkable transformation of the UK's digital landscape, and Virgin Media's £3bn investment will play an important role in ensuring our cities are fully equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age in which we live."Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey
In theory the £3bn of investment which is underwritten by the UK Government for Virgin Media should boost their current UK wide coverage from 48.3% to around 65%, the only question marks are exactly where the roll-out will be and whether activity from competitors like Sky and TalkTalk will spur Virgin Media to go even further.