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Virgin Media announces rollout of ultra-fast gigabit-capable broadband

Virgin Media has confirmed that one million households in the West Midlands will soon be able to access ultra-fast gigabit-capable broadband.

The switch-on of Virgin's gigabit services is the largest in the UK, according to the company, which has announced that it will be available in places like Coventry and Birmingham in March.

The broadband service is already available in Southampton, Manchester and Reading - and Nicholas Baker, a broadband expert at Uswitch, has now underlined the significance of the lanuch.

He said it's an important moment in the "drive to update the UK's broadband network, which for a long time has lagged behind other countries".

Despite this, he suggested that the service - which will cost at least £62 a month - may not be hugely popular with consumers.

He told the BBC: "The truth is not many households will need these kinds of speeds.

"Our research shows that less than a quarter are currently signed up to services with speeds in excess of 60Mbps - while more than a third don't even know what their broadband speed is."

Meanwhile, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden has also hailed the significance of Virgin Media's plans, saying it was a major step forwards.

He said: "We're working closely with companies like Virgin Media and investing £5 billion to ensure the hardest to reach areas aren't left behind."

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