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Virgin Media is trialling a new way of rolling-out fibre broadband - using narrow-trenching to lay cables in the Cambridgeshire village of Papworth.

The approach - being tested in partnership with the John Henry Group - reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm.

This allows engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, making the deployment more than twice as fast as current methods.

Virgin Media believes narrow-trenching could reduce the cost of any network roll-out by up to a third.

The fibre deployment in Papworth will enable 100 households to sign up to ultra-fast 1Gb broadband services, as part of a new pilot.

Hundreds more homes and businesses will be able to take out a 152Mb broadband deal with Virgin Media.

Paul Buttery, Chief Customer, Networks and Technology Officer at the firm, said Virgin Media "continues to push the boundaries of broadband".

He explained how the company launched the UK’s first super-fast service in 2008 and introduced 152Mb speeds earlier this year.

"We know our network is unbeatable and we are excited to bring 1Gb to the people of Papworth as they help us explore a new way of rolling out our network faster and more cost-effectively," Mr Buttery stated.

Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said Virgin Media is to be commended for its "continued exploration and development of new technologies", which are "helping transform the UK’s digital landscape".

He added that the firm's investment in the expansion of its network, together with the government’s own rollout of super-fast broadband to rural areas, is playing "a significant role in driving the UK’s economic growth".

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