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Virgin Media has announced plans to significantly extend its UK broadband network, enabling more households and businesses to subscribe to its services.

According to the Independent, the broadband provider is aiming to provide access to Virgin Media broadband deals to another 100,000 homes by the end of 2011.

So far in 2011, the firm has delivered its cable infrastructure to 73,000 homes, with Staines and Derry in Northern Ireland among the major beneficiaries.

The next phase of Virgin Media's staged rollout will see large areas of Southampton added to the network.

This will come as a massive boost to households and businesses in the city, according to Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes.

She commented that constituents have frequently complained about poor broadband speeds, which make it difficult for consumers and businesspeople to make the most of the internet.

Jon James, Virgin Media's Executive Director of Broadband, said that by extending its fibre-optic network to parts of the country previously outside the traditional heartlands, the firm is ensuring more people can experience the "compelling advantages" that a super-fast connection can bring.

He said that in doing so, Virgin Media is also helping to support the government's digital ambitions.

"Today's increasingly digital lifestyle requires better broadband and we've seen a strong response from the communities we expand into who are crying out for quality services," Mr James stated.

"We're adding thousands of homes to our network every month as our expansion programme continues and we look for opportunities to give more people access to the fastest broadband and best in home entertainment."

At present, Virgin Media is able to provide broadband packages to 13 million homes in the UK, with the scale of its network investment estimated at £13 billion.

More than 6.5 million of these premises are able to sign up for the firm's flagship 100Mb broadband deals, which were launched in December 2010.

The firm has been carrying out fibre upgrades to its network throughout 2011, in a bid to bring ultra-fast webs services to a greater share of the population.

And with Virgin Media continuing to extend its reach across the UK, many more households could benefit from 100Mb broadband services in the future.

BT is also rolling out fibre broadband across the UK, although its download speeds are currently capped at 40Mb.

The firm is investing £2.5 billion upgrading local telephone exchanges across the UK to support super-fast broadband.

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