• Virgin Media O2 launches its first ever residential gigabit voucher scheme to connect rural locations in West Sussex to next-generation connectivity
  • Residents and small businesses in Steyning, Upper Beeding & Bramber can register their interest in the scheme now to help bring Virgin Media O2’s gigabit broadband speeds to the area – 25 times faster than the local average
  • The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is part of the UK Government’s ‘Project Gigabit’ drive to connect hard-to-reach areas to gigabit broadband speeds
  • Virgin Media O2 is spearheading the UK’s gigabit charge with more than 7 million homes already able to access its Gig1 service, with the rest of the network set to gain access to these next-generation speeds by the end of the year

Virgin Media O2 is, for the first time, making use of the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help residents in West Sussex benefit from next-generation connectivity.

Working closely with West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the scheme is part of the Government’s £5 billion ‘Project Gigabit’ mission to bring gigabit broadband to every corner of the UK.

Virgin Media O2 is inviting residents in the area to register their interest so that Gigabit Broadband Vouchers can be used, alongside private investment from the company, to help connect them to some of the nation’s fastest broadband speeds of up to 1.1Gbps. Businesses can also apply for vouchers as part of the scheme.

This is Virgin Media O2’s first involvement in a DCMS residential broadband voucher scheme and is the largest of its kind in West Sussex. It is available to thousands of homes and small businesses in West Steyning, Upper Beeding and Bramber where current broadband speeds are below the national average.

The average broadband speed in the area is 43.8Mbps but many premises experience much slower connections. Virgin Media’s Gig1 service will provide a boost to broadband speeds by offering services up to 25 times faster at a time when quick and reliable connectivity has never been more important.

Virgin Media O2 is leading Britain’s gigabit charge and boasts the largest gigabit network in the UK. It will bring gigabit connectivity to its entire network – covering more than 15 million homes and businesses – by the end of 2021, helping to deliver nearly two thirds of the Government’s 2025 broadband target four years early.

The company has committed to invest at least £10bn over the next 5 years in the UK and, building on the success of its existing fibre network expansion activity, is planning to go further and faster by deploying fibre to millions of additional homes across the country. This investment will see the business contribute even further to the Government’s connectivity targets – upgrading infrastructure in more parts of the country and bringing greater choice and competition to many areas that need it most.

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, said:

“Our broadband voucher scheme is energising broadband firms to deliver ultra high-speed connections to the most hard-to-reach parts and I’m delighted to hear Virgin Media O2 has joined us and launched its first scheme in West Sussex.”

“There is up to £210 million worth of vouchers up for grabs across the UK and I’d encourage anyone looking for a broadband boost to apply.”

Rob Evans, Managing Director, Fixed Network Expansion at Virgin Media O2, said:

“We’re spearheading the UK’s broadband charge with the nation’s largest gigabit network that is expanding to new areas each day.

“Our mission is to upgrade the UK and this voucher scheme, combined with our continued private investment, will help to bring the benefits of next-generation digital infrastructure to harder-to-reach areas. We urge residents in West Sussex to get involved and register their interest so that Virgin Media O2 can bring gigabit connectivity to West Sussex communities as quickly as possible.”

Steve Waight, County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Digital Infrastructure, said:

“I am delighted that Virgin Media has chosen to launch its first ever residential gigabit vouchers scheme in Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding. Residents and small businesses locally are set to benefit from technology that can offer the fastest, most reliable broadband speeds which will make all the difference to living, working and schooling as well as running businesses and retail, including from home.

“This opportunity is one of a kind and without it the area may have to wait years for an equivalent gigabit-capable broadband service. I encourage everyone who is minded to pledge their voucher to Virgin Media to sign up and unlock the public funding that will help to make these exciting plans a reality.”

Virgin Media O2 will be raising awareness of the Gigabit Voucher Scheme with more information being sent to eligible addresses as well as running community events in line with current Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions.

How can residents apply for the Gigabit Voucher Scheme?

  • Visit www.virginmedia.com/gbvs to register interest and request a voucher
  • Select “Residential” or “Business” and complete the relevant form
  • Virgin Media O2 will respond via email to residents to confirm if their premises is included within the scheme. Business customers will be contacted directly to confirm qualifying criteria
  • DCMS will contact all voucher applicants via email to confirm the application and again once services have been installed

For more information on the Gigabit Voucher Scheme, visit > https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

Notes to editor

Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit-capable broadband. For more information on the Gigabit Voucher Scheme, visit > https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

More information on how Virgin Media O2’s people are helping the country stay connected can be found HERE.

The average (median) broadband speed in Horsham is 43.8Mbps. Source: Ofcom, Connected Nations Report 2020, published 17 December 2020.

Businesses that apply for the scheme, will be able to access Virgin Media’s ‘Voom 500’ service which provides broadband speeds of 500Mbps.

The gigabit voucher scheme is also available through other broadband providers.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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