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Six villages in Leicesteshire are being lined up to receive broadband speeds of 200Mbps as part of Virgin Media's Project Lightning network expansion.

Residents in Blaby, Countesthorpe and Enderby will be the first to benefit, with some homes having already gone live.

Residents in Whetstone, Narborough and Cosby will be connected in early 2016.

The £3 billion scheme is aiming to bring ultrafast optical fibre broadband with connection speeds two-and-a-half times faster than the top speeds available from BT, TalkTalk and Sky.

Some 16,000 homes across the UK are being prepared to benefit from the service, which Virgin is marketing as "the best way to experience the internet".

Virgin has already rolled out ultrafast connectivity in several cities, with 20,000 homes and businesses in Manchester earmarked for the scheme back in June.

"Expanding our network to villages such as Blaby and Enderby shows that Project Lightning is not just about building in big cities, we’re also investing to bring ultrafast broadband to towns and villages close to our existing network across the UK," commented Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media.

He claimed that the "use of narrow-trenching", which reduces the width trench used to lay optical fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm, would help to minimise disruption to people's homes and that he hopes Virgin Media can "count on government and local authority support to use this technique in more parts of the UK".

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