Virgin Media broadband rollout prequalifies for guarantees

Sunday 22 March 2015 | 21:27 CET | News

The UK government has prequalified Virgin Media’s GBP 3 billion superfast broadband network expansion for the UK Guarantees Scheme, which provides sovereign-backed guarantees to help projects find finance. The Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (DCIS) document reveals that the government has “prequalified the expansion of Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband network for the UK Guarantees Scheme” with guarantees provided on a commercial basis, with pricing depending on projects’ risk and structure. Up to GBP 40 billion of guarantees can be offered.

The DCIS also shows that the government seeks industry feedback about any particular barriers to private investment and how they could be overcome. The government previously said it would implementing the European Broadband Directive to reduce the rollout’s cost. A consultation is expected this year.

Furthermore, the DCIS states that the satellite subsidy scheme “will build on the government’s commitment that there will be at least 95 percent superfast broadband coverage by 2017 by offering a superfast capable solution to around a further 1 percent of premises, and help to ensure that no one is left behind.” This leaves 4 percent to be covered by other wireless broadband technologies.

The government will carry out another assessment of general broadband coverage levels, use and demand in 2018, including fixed and mobile.

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