Openreach has thrown down the ultrafast broadband gauntlet issuing a challenge to beleaguered rival Virgin Media.
26 areas across the country, including Liverpool, Manchester and Central London, have been announced as part of its G.Fast project.
Customers in these areas will get access to broadband speeds of up to 330Mbps – ten times the national average.
The rollout is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, although around one million homes and businesses will be connected by December 2017.
Openreach hopes to reach 10 million premises by the time the project is completed.
Both BT and TalkTalk are already preparing to offer the service, and other providers will be expected to follow.
Around 500,000 premises across the UK will benefit from the G.Fast project, following the recent announcement.
The full list of locations are:
- Bath Kingsmead
- Bishops Stortford
- Brierley Hill
- Brighton Hove
- Glasgow Bridgeton
- Glasgow Douglas
- Great Barr
- Hemel Hempstead
- High Wycombe
- Liverpool Central
- Lofthouse Gate
- Manchester East
- Northern, Birmingham
- Parsons Green
- Portsmouth North End
- Whitchurch, South Glamorgan
Customers in these areas who would like to access the service should contact their ISP to check availability.
This is bad news for Virgin, who have their own infrastructure programme in the works.
Virgin’s Project Lightning, which offers speeds of up to 300Mbps, has been subject to a certain amount of self-sabotage in recent months, leaving the door open for BT’s own ultrafast investment project.
The £3 billion project hit the rocks in July, leading to a number of redundancies among (non-senior) staff.
Virgin Media bosses had been accused of overestimating sales figures, falling short by about 142,000 customers.
Though this could be considered a coup for Openreach, it’s been something of a bumpy road so far.
Despite owning the largest amount of broadband infrastructure in the UK the company has been slow to react to challenges from competitors.
This is partly due to the forced split from parent company BT, which hobbled existing plans, and from which Openreach is only starting to recover.
Virgin Media’s blunder may however give Openreach the upper hand in the long run.