Sunday, 14 August 2022

Broadband cabling put off again

PLANS to install ultrafast broadband in the centre of Wargrave have been shelved for a second time.

Virgin Media says it will not be laying cables on central roads, including High Street, Church Street and Ferry Lane, after it encountered “issues”.

However, the scheme may still be revisited later.

Virgin has covered other areas of the village as part of its Cable My Street initiative, which offers householders and businesses broadband speeds of up to 200 megabytes per second.

The company said originally that it would not install fibre-optic cables in the village centre as there was not enough demand to justify the traffic disruption that would be caused by digging up the roads.

But in September it announced a change of heart after pressure from residents, Wargrave Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council.

Now Virgin has changed its mind again.

A spokesman said: “We’re expanding our network in a nationwide effort to bring ultrafast broadband to new areas. Since we started our build in Wargrave we have encountered issues, which is why, at present, we won’t be expanding our network to some areas near the village centre.

“We’ll be meeting with Wargrave Parish Council soon to discuss potential ways in which we can work together to expand our ultrafast broadband network in the area as quickly as possible.”

At a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council in July, Virgin project manager Paul Hartley said laying cables in the village centre would require road closures with long diversions and he was worried that doing that could lead to negative publicity for the company.

He told councillors: “We outlined concerns with High Street, Ferry Lane and Church Street. They are central roads and would require closures.

“We would like as many customers attracted to us as possible but there’s commercial viability and brand impact or damage.”

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