Community leaders have hailed the imminent arrival of superfast broadband in March and surrounding areas as “a game changer for the rural economy”.
Homes and businesses in March will be the next to benefit from an ultrafast broadband and entertainment boost this year, as part of Virgin Media’s £3 billion network expansion across the UK.
Work to expand the company’s underground fibre optic network has already begun in the town, and will extend to Wimblington, Doddington and Chatteris, with completion expected by spring 2017.
A total of 19,000 homes and businesses in the area are set to benefit as part of Virgin Media’s pledge to bring better connectivity and top-notch TV to 17 million premises by the end of 2019.
Welcoming the news, North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay said: “Those living in rural areas often miss out on opportunities to grow their businesses and learn new skills due to poor internet connectivity; investments like this are a game changer for rural economies like ours.”
Fenland Council leader John Clark added: “It’s good to see Fenland – and March in particular – gradually getting better internet connections and let’s hope that continues.
“The whole district needs and deserves the same sort of speeds that places like Cambridge have been enjoying for some time.”
And Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count, who represents March North ward, said: “It’s great news that superfast broadband is on the way to thousands more homes and businesses through Virgin Media’s investment in Project Lightning, which complements our Connecting Cambridgeshire broadband programme.
“Good connectivity is vital to support a strong economy; it means businesses can grow and create jobs, people living in rural communities don’t miss out, and we can deliver council services in new ways.”
Jo Dutton, Midlands and East regional director for Virgin Media, said: “It’s official – March has struck broadband and entertainment gold! Residents will soon be getting the high-speed connectivity and TV they deserve. We urge residents to come together and register their interest – your street could be next.”
The ultrafast broadband service will boast download speeds of up to 200Mbps for local residents, and 300Mbps for businesses and home workers.