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A third of UK homes and businesses can now take advantage of Virgin Media's fibre-optic broadband network, it has been announced.

The service provider said more than 20 million people have gained access to 100Mb broadband deals, as the firm's fibre rollout continues.

Virgin Media has achieved this milestone less than a year after its first ultra-fast broadband services went live in December 2010.

Premises in Birmingham, Lincoln, Greater London, and Solihull are the latest to have been added to the network – with more homes and businesses able to sign up from today.

The broadband provider remains on course to upgrade its entire network to fibre by the middle of 2012 – at which point half the UK population will have access to Virgin Media services should they choose to sign up.

According to the firm, demand for faster broadband continues to increase among UK consumers and businesses.

In the three months to the end of September 2011, 178,300 more households signed up for 30Mb broadband or faster.

A record proportion (54 per cent) of new Virgin Media broadband customers wanted these faster speeds, the firm said.

Jon James, Virgin Media's Executive Director of Broadband, said the firm was "very proud" to reach another significant milestone in its broadband history.

He commented that the company is playing "a leading role" in the development of the UK's next generation infrastructure.

"Providing speeds of 100Mb to a third of the UK today, and to a further four million homes by the middle of next year, assures Virgin Media's lead in the British broadband revolution," Mr James added.

"This is the sort of connectivity that can give families access to the best in digital entertainment and online services in an instant as well as provide the foundation for business growth and start-up Britain."

Mr James noted that Virgin Media has achieved speeds of 1.5Gb – some of the fastest broadband in the world – and is ready for when consumers want more in the future.

He said that demand for ultra-fast broadband will continue to accelerate in the future.

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