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The campaign continues for high speed broadband in rural Test and Dun Valleys. The virtual town (consisting of Houghton, West Tytherley, Broughton, Wherwell, Winterslow, Firsdown, Michelmersh, Timsbury, Kings Somborne, Goodworth Clatford, Chilbolton and Stockbridge) registered their interest in the project, using Cable My Street, which triggered Virgin Media to invest £20m in designing a brand new fibre to the home (FTTH) optical fibre network for the area. This is a ‘proof of concept’ project for Virgin Media who have, to date, only deployed their networks in urban environments.

For the network to be built, 1000 sign-ups had to be achieved across the virtual town by the end of July 2017, but also each village needed to reach their own target of 25%.

This was achieved!

The final results are below.

In Summary…

  • The build is definitely going ahead!
  • There are no more targets for us to meet or hoops to jump through as we have successfully demonstrated demand.
  • As all villages met their 25% sign-up targets all 12 villages will be in the build.
  • VM’s design and marketing team have now stood down and their implementation team have taken over.
  • A steering group has been formed consisting of the build project manager, community liaison and public affairs from VM plus representatives from WTBBG. They will meet regularly starting now until the end of the build.

The Latest Update

25th November 2017:  Preparation for the build continues

  • VM have, so far, held village meetings in Wherwell, Chilbolton, Kings Somborne, Stockbridge and Goodworth Clatford. At these meetings the VM team, which included Community Liaison Officers, meet with residents to talk about the details of the build for their properties and to begin to get way-leaves signed where required.
  • Further meetings are planned for Michelmersh & Timsbury. Venues and timings can be found on the Upcoming Events link.
  • VM have confirmed that the build will take place in two phases, starting the in the New Year with those villages along the main trunk route i.e. the Test Way between Andover and Romsey, which includes Goodworth Clatford, Wherwell, Chilbolton, Stockbridge, Kings Somborne, Michelmersh & Timsbury. Phase II will see the build head west across the river towards Houghton, Broughton, West Tytherley, Winterslow and Firsdown. The plan is that Phase II will start once Phase I is underway – it is not dependent on Phase I being complete.
  • VM plan to be in all the Phase I villages for meetings with residents before Christmas and to then hold similar meetings in the Phase II villages in the New Year.
  • The build contractor has now been confirmed and the build for Phase 1 is planned to start in February 2018.
  • VM issued a press release on the 20th November cementing their intent to proceed with the build.
  • We believe that the end of 2018 is still a realistic date for the villages to go live, hopefully some sooner than then.
  • Virgin Media are due to start route proving of the existing ducted fibre trunk route that runs from Cottonworth to Stockbridge along the Test Way before year end.  The work should not be too intrusive and will not necessitate any closures, as they will only be locating and proving the existing ducts running along the old railway line. Hants Countryside Services and TVBC have already been informed.
  • We will keep our website updated with all the latest information including village meeting dates and build information as and when they are confirmed. It is always worth checking the website on a regular basis.
  • You may hear information on this project from other sources, but if it doesn’t appear on this website (or issued directly by Virgin Media) then bear in mind it may not be authentic.

Please get in touch with any queries. We appreciate your patience, but rest assured although things have gone relatively quiet there is a lot going on behind the scenes with which we are still very much in the loop.