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Virgin Media has called on homes and business in 18 counties to register their interest in an ultrafast broadband rollout.

The internet service provider intends to install an ultrafast optical fibre broadband connection in these areas, as part of a wider £3 billion nationwide network expansion plan.

It has therefore launched the Supercharging Local Communities scheme, which invites residents and businesses to express their interest at and influence the decision on where the rollout should begin.

The initiative is being opened up to people in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Renfrewshire, Rhondda, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Lothian, West Yorkshire and Worcestershire.

Paul Buttery, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, commented: "Expanding our network to communities across 18 UK counties shows that ultrafast broadband isn’t just for the big cities.

"We are dedicated to investing and delivering connectivity across the UK. Better broadband brings huge benefits for people and businesses."

Households equipped with Vivid 200 broadband will be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 200Mbps, which Virgin Media says is two-and-a-half times faster than the top speeds offered by competitors including Sky, TalkTalk and BT.

This means that an entire household will be able to stream music, films and other online content at the same time.

Local businesses, meanwhile, will benefit from speeds of up to 300Mbps, which is almost four times faster than the widely available top speeds from rival providers.

Virgin Media said this can help businesses "reach their potential by delivering better services and greater capacity".

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