This is a subject close to our hearts as without decent broadband websites like ours couldn’t exist (and thankfully in our street near the tube we have BT Infinitity). Sadly many other parts of Barnet suffer from poor internet coverage and slow speeds – Netflix, for example, isn’t an option as uploading a film could take hours.
However, we’ve just received some good news from MP Theresa Villiers about Virgin Media who announced this week that it will be extending its fibre broadband network in Barnet to cover 40,000 more premises over the next 18 months.
The first phase will start this autumn in Friern Barnet and East Barnet and take about six months. A second phase will cover parts of Chipping Barnet (ie High Barnet rather than the whole constituency) starting early next year, with a similar build timeline.
Virgin Media claims that by the end of 2018 it will have expanded its ultrafast broadband network to 400,000 homes and businesses in London, including 40,000 in Barnet. It is part of their £3bn Project Lightning programme, which has already started in the capital with an additional 90,000 premises covered to date and 38,000 more London premises to be given access to ultrafast speeds by early 2017.
Project Lightning will see fibre connected directly to Barnet 40,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2018. Theresa Villiers said “I have been campaigning for better broadband for Barnet for years. I asked Virgin Media representatives to come to Barnet to meet local residents and businesses who want better digital connectivity. We made a case for Virgin to include Barnet in the expansion of its fibre network and I am delighted they have listened to us.”
“I am also pleased to say that the campaign for better broadband is delivering progress from BT as well. They are now starting to fill the gaps in their fast broadband coverage in High Barnet and Underhill. Cabinet 40, on the corner of Bells Hill and West End Lane is being connected today. Cabinet 64, near the Spires shopping centre recently went live with a fast broadband connection. Progress is expected soon on other BT cabinets identified by the Barnet Society as needing to be upgraded to provide faster services.”
Virgin Media offers the fastest widely-available speeds in the UK of up to 200Mbps for consumers and 300Mbps for businesses, much faster than the BT options currently available to households in Barnet. Backed by parent company Liberty Global, Virgin Media is investing £3bn to connect a total of 17 million premises to its network by 2019. This is the single largest investment in the UK’s broadband infrastructure for more than a decade.
As network expansion continues across the country, Virgin Media is asking those who haven’t yet registered their interest in getting connected to ultrafast broadband to visit their website. Virgin Media’s network currently covers 2.8 million premises in London.