The deal will see Virgin Media gain access to crucial sites to help it rollout its ultrafast broadband network in the region

Virgin Media has announced that it has reached an amicable resolution with Durham County Council over its recent spat over land access terms. Virgin Media had accused Durham County Council of levying exorbitant access charges to a number of key sites. The dispute came to a head when Virgin Media issued legal proceedings against the Council in an attempt to force it to grant access to the sites. 

With the case due to be heard by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in the coming weeks, both sides have reached an agreement. The settlement will mean that Virgin Media will only have to pay a token fee of £1 for access to the sites. The agreement means that Virgin Media is now able to continue the rollout of its ultrafast broadband network, which will bring broadband speeds of up to 362Mbps to customers in the North East of England. 

“This agreement with Durham sets a much needed precedent which will speed up broadband rollout and encourage investment.  We hope that other local authorities and landowners now follow Durham’s example," said Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media.

“Most importantly, this is fantastic news for the residents and businesses of Durham as we can now continue the good work we started with Durham Country Council and bring a real broadband boost to local communities across the county,” he added. 

Durham County Council said that the agreement was a mutually beneficial arrangement that would facilitate the rollout of dramatically improved connectivity in the North East. 

“Following the reforms it was important that, as a local authority, we were able to test and understand the implications of the new code. Working closely with Virgin Media and our legal team we are happy to be able to move forward in ensuring our businesses and communities can benefit from superfast broadband,” said Durham County Council’s head of planning and assets, Stuart Timmiss.  

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