VM02 teams with Telford Council to create full fibre network
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Telford town sign Telford is the largest town in the region (credit: MyEarthWorks)

Telford and Wrekin Council has announced a partnership with Virgin Media O2 Business to develop a fibre network spanning 200 buildings across towns in the Shropshire region.

The partnership programme will see VMO2 deliver a multimillion-pound boost to connectivity infrastructure and digital inclusion by providing access to a full fibre network in schools, libraries, council premises and other public buildings in Telford, Newport and Wellington.

According to VMO2, the introduction of new cabling will also lay the foundations for a further 12,000 local premises not currently connected to a fixed network to access ultrafast fibre services in the future. The new infrastructure will enable additional wholesale connectivity partnerships allowing other providers to deliver full fibre to the premises (FTTP) services in Telford and Wrekin.

Councillor Rae Evans, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “This investment will see improved connectivity at council buildings, public offices, schools and libraries across the borough, making it easier for us to do business as a council, and easier for people to access our services online.

“We know that this investment will have a real impact on the lives of people across Telford and Wrekin, and make sure that residents and business alike have access to fast, full fibre broadband, as we continue our commitment to protect, care and invest to create a better borough.”

Alongside the initial upgrade, VM02 said it will create a digital inclusion fund to help the council “improve residents’ access to digital services”. To support young people in the area, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Virgin Media O2 Business will work with the council and the local build partner, Comex 2000, to offer hands-on apprenticeship and work experience opportunities according to the council.

Mike Smith, director of large enterprise and public sector at VMO2 Business, added: “Today, digital connectivity isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s an essential. We’re looking forward to seeing this project make huge strides to tackle digital exclusion in Telford and Wrekin, giving people access to new opportunities, educational resources and keeping them connected when they need it.”

Last year, VM02 announced plans to upgrade its entire network to full fibre with symmetrical upload and download speeds by 2028 and began trials with Samsung’s 4G and 5G telecoms equipment on its live mobile network.

Virgin Media O2 has further announced its intention to upgrade its fixed network to FTTP by 2028, including 66,000 properties in Telford & Wrekin, with the company’s 4G mobile network currently offering 97.25% indoor coverage in the area.

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