Virgin Media broadband and TV coverage expands in the north-east

Do you live in Darlington, Hartlepool, Stockton-On-Tees or Sunderland? Do you long for faster broadband and more TV channels? Well, you could be in luck, because Virgin Media is expanding its network to cover 5,000 more homes up your way.

The provider expects the work to be completed by the end of the month, meaning that if you live on Teesside or Wearside, you could soon get download speeds of up to 152Mb - over eight times the national average - and hundreds of channels, including BT Sport and Sky Sports.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's chief executive officer, said: "Extending our network across the region means thousands more homes will benefit from the UK's fastest widely-available broadband for the first time. We are proud to be supercharging Teesside, helping people make the most of the UK's exciting digital future."

The reason Virgin Media broadband is the fastest widely-available in the UK is because, unlike other major providers, which use the national telephone network, Virgin Media has its own cable network, which uses a combination of fibre optic and coaxial cable to hook homes up.

This means its broadband is much faster because the only people on the network are Virgin Media customers and - unlike most other kinds of fibre optic broadband - it doesn't use your phone line, which is prone to interference and through which the speed data travels reduces over distance.

The flipside of the coin is that only around half the homes in the country can get Virgin Media broadband (by comparison, around three-quarters can get BT Infinity) because it's dead expensive for Virgin Media to expand its network.

That doesn't mean it won't though. According to Virgin Media, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, together with residents and the local council was "instrumental" in getting the provider to expand its coverage in Stockton.

If you want to see if you can get Virgin Media, put your postcode into a TV and broadband price comparison site.

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