Virgin Media

Virgin Media Business to supply Full Fibre broadband across Berkshire

Schools, doctor’s surgeries and libraries across Berkshire set to benefit

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West Berkshire Council has awarded a major contract to Virgin Media Business to supply Full Fibre infrastructure to  schools, doctor’s surgeries and public libraries across Berkshire by March 2022. Connectivity at more than 80 locations is set to be upgraded, with more than 26,000 school pupils able to benefit from future-proof full fibre connections.

The project, which is being run by the Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group (DIG), is made up of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the six Local Authorities. It will improve digital infrastructure across the region, helping to keep local people and businesses connected.

Joanne Stewart, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Internal Governance said:

“Awarding the Virgin Media Business contract is a real milestone in this exciting project. Children across the region will now have access to true blended learning. It is just the start to achieving a truly Connected Berkshire.”

Covid-19 has led to schools dramatically accelerating their digital learning programmes, which has caused challenges  in harder to reach rural areas. Full fibre infrastructure will support digital learning and can power the next-generation of connected services. For schools and other public sites, it offers the potential for them to benefit from gigabit speeds, and can support connections of more than 1,000Mbps.

The fibre infrastructure will bring essential connectivity to schools across Berkshire, enhancing lessons, online training, cloud services and educational tools. It will enable schools to become digital community hubs and aid adult education and re-skilling. Communities living near the upgraded schools, such as GP surgeries and libraries, will also have their infrastructure boosted thanks to the contract.

The £1.7m project funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, is being led by West Berkshire Council, to deliver the full fibre rollout.

The first 15 sites will start to be connected from next January with further sites added later in the year.

Mike Smith, Director of Large Enterprise and Public Sector at Virgin Media O2 Business said:

“This investment will bring next-generation connectivity to West Berkshire and help the region to thrive. With so many schools being connected, young people are set to benefit from the infrastructure they need to get ahead in the digital era.”

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