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Virgin Media has reportedly scaled back plans to roll out its urban superfast broadband service across North Swindon due to local authorities striking a £1.9 billion deal with UKB Networks, with a view to deploying a fixed wireless service in the area.

According to ISPreview, the local council has already claimed that neither Virgin or BT had serious ambitions over bidding for the related Broadband Delivery UK contract, meaning UKB Network's fixed wireless solution was the only option.

Nevertheless, the decision has attracted criticism from local politicians, with Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson telling the Swindon Advertiser: "We have had productive talks with Virgin who have already started rolling out in some parts of the northern sector but at this stage they are unlikely to progress further as they are unhappy as the council wants to move forward with 4G.

"Residents collectively know this scheme is doomed to fail and therefore are disappointed that Virgin has hesitated. Our focus is now on working with BT to deliver the much needed upgrade to the Haydon Exchange."

Reports suggest recent negotiations between local officials and Virgin had reached an "advanced" stage, but scaled back plans after it learned it was to be operating in the same areas as UKB.

The aim of the original contract was to benefit some 20,000 poorly served premises in North Swindon, many of which are situated in rural areas.

Some parts of the wireless infrastructure will cover urban areas too, although there are fears over the challenges in avoiding overlaps with existing “superfast” networks.

The current situation means UKB is the current holder of the legally-binding contract, meaning it is likely to be responsible for delivering the service.



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