Virgin Media and BT Openreach, two of the largest broadband providers and internet infrastructure firms in Britain, have announced separate plans to invest heavily in rural connectivity across the country.

In Virgin Media’s case, it has announced that it completed a roll-out of a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across 12 rural villages in the Test and Dun Valleys in Hampshire and Wiltshire, ISP Review reported on January 30.

This is while BT’s Openreach announced plans to accelerate the roll-out of full-fibre broadband to market towns and rural villages across the UK mainland.

Openreach unveiled a list of 227 locations that are set to benefit from this “superfast” fibre, with roll-out work set to begin across the next 14 months.

Towns and villages including Brixham and Furzeham in the south-west of England to Prestatyn in Wales and Kelso in Scotland are all on the list of places to see upgraded internet.

In total, some 250,000 homes and businesses will be covered by the new roll-out, which follows on from the successful completion of a range of village trials carried out at the end of last year.

Chief executive of Openreach Clive Selley said: “Openreach has always been committed to doing our bit in rural Britain – delivering network upgrades in communities that are harder to reach and less densely populated. We intend to build a significant portion of our full-fibre network in these harder to reach areas of the UK and are announcing 227 locations today.”

He added the firm’s roll-out of full-fibre connectivity is already progressing well, with Openreach now adding homes and businesses at a rate of 26,000 premises a week, in over 100 locations, Comdirect reported on January 30.

The report added one rural business benefitted from the recent introduction of FTTP internet in their rural location including ice cream maker Callestick Farm in Cornwall, which has reportedly tapped into larger markets.

Rural areas are set to leapfrog wired broadband internet as fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet – which competes in terms of speed and connectivity without the lengthy installation procedures becomes more common in the UK.

One specific location which has been historically forgotten by the main internet infrastructure firms is the North-North West of England.

This failure of the leading companies led to the creation of an entirely independent operator called ‘Broadband 4 the Rural North’ (B4RN). That firm has worked hand-in-hand with local councils to roll-out fibre broadband in remote locations including Cumbria and Lancashire.