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Silicon Roundabout's internet woes may be over within three months, Virgin Media boss says

Margi Murphy | Feb. 17, 2015
It may be a fast-paced area for growth, but the Old Street quarters dubbed the 'Silicon Roundabout' has long been the butt of jokes thanks to its slow internet speeds.

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Startups will get faster broadband after being poorly served in the past Image: iStock/Alvarez via Techworld

500 'Silicon Roundabout' startups will finally be connected with speedy broadband over the next three months, Virgin Media's business division's managing director told Techworld.

The hip and happening quarter spanning the Old Street area in London has previously suffered from laughable broadband speeds, which left tech entrepreneurs unable to work effectively on their business.

Peter Kelly said: "That particular part of London has been poorly served. It does seem crazy that we have arguably one of the world's premier high tech hubs where thousands of small internet companies that are trying to grow nationally and internationally say they can't get the right communication services."

The provider has already 'fibered' up some of the 500 businesses within the square mile dubbed as London's tech hub and will continue to do so over the next 12-15 weeks, Kelly said.

It had previously invited the "digitally deprived" startups to register their interest in a market trial.

Once the fibre is installed it will take just over two weeks to deploy services for the two thousand or so startups housed there.

While Virgin Media has been welcomed with open arms into the startup scene, with thanks to Tech City UK, a government-backed initiative to nurture entrepreneurs. But it isn't the case across the rest of the UK.

Speaking more broadly about the £3 billion investment Virgin Media has made to expand its network coverage in the UK, Kelly said: "Because of the Tech City UK organisation and their relationship with the building owners we have been very much welcomed [to Silicon Roundabout]. What I would say on a national level, is that some local authorities are more progressive than otherssome local authorities are very positive and very proactive - they welcome that investmentthere are others that are less receptive."

The investment, the largest of its kind in a decade, will place Virgin Media as a contender to BT.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's CEO said: "In virtually all of the areas we have identified for expansion, BT is the only option available right now. Its ageing copper telephony wires are not capable of the ultrafast connectivity that Virgin Media delivers. Soon we will offer unbeatable services to even more homes and businesses across the country."

However, Virgin Media said economics will play a part in the expansion, and if an area is not well placed within the provider's current network reach, it is less likely to be served.

However, frustrated citizens and businesses will be considered if they register an interest in faster broadband here.

 

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