Virgin Media is to launch legal proceedings against Durham County Council, accusing the local council of creating a “broadband blockade” by demanding increased payments for land access in the area.
Virgin Media last wrote to Durham County Council in May, in an attempt to gain access to the disputed land, however, it has been unable to reach an agreement with the council. Virgin Media has now launched legal action, which it hopes will force Durham County Council to grant access.
“We are disappointed to be taking this action against a Council with whom we initially had a good working relationship. By demanding money for land access Durham County Council is now putting up a broadband blockade to thousands of homes and businesses across the county,” said Tom Mockridge, chief executive of Virgin Media.
Virgin Media claims that gaining access to the land would allow it to complete a network expansion project that would bring speeds of up to 350Mbps to 16,000 people in Durham.
“This significant planned investment by Virgin Media will boost the local economy and provide consumers with a real alternative to BT’s Openreach network. With Virgin Media offering speeds 13 times faster than the local average, holding this fibre rollout to ransom over land fees risks leaving areas of Durham in the broadband slow lane. Durham has no basis for imposing any kind of a land levy in these circumstances and its attitude runs counter to that we have faced from more forward-thinking councils,” he added.
Durham County Council have yet to comment on the imminent court proceedings. – Total Telecom