Culture secretary says Virgin Media announcement a step towards "delivering gigabit broadband to everyone in the UK"
Following Virgin Media's announcement that one million households in the West Midlands will have ultrafast broadband access from March onwards, culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that the news was great progress on the government plan to "deliver gigabit broadband to everyone in the UK".
Virgin says the "switch-on" of these ultrafast services is the largest in the country, with high speeds soon to be available in cities including Coventry and Birmingham, as well as the surrounding areas.
Gigabit-capable broadband enables users to reach download speeds of more than 1,100 megabits per second, with the average speed in the country being 54Mbps.
The new package will come at a premium however -- Virgin will be charging customers £744 a year for ultrafast broadband. The same offering is already available in cities including Manchester and Southampton, and a spokesperson for the firm said they planned to add "millions" more homes in 2020.
Last year, Boris Johnson pledged that every household in the UK would have "full fibre" broadband by 2025 – a massive commitment, according to broadband providers.
According to the BBC, Openreach, a division of BT which maintains and upgrades the UK's broadband and telephone network, has claimed it is "upgrading customers to new full fibre at a rate of one every 23 seconds".
Virgin Media pledged to bring gigabit-capable services to 15 million homes by the end of 2021. Recent reports from Ofcom showed that as many as three million households can access these speeds – almost twice last year's figure.