Virgin Media will provide FTTP technology to at least a quarter of the four million new premises it is connecting as part of its Project Lightning network expansion.

The Liberty Global-owned business announced in February 2015 that it was investing £3 billion to grow its network by 2019.

It has now connected 250,000 new premises and said 500,000 more would be passed this year.

While the majority of homes and business will be connected via Hybrid Fibre/Coax (HFC), Virgin said new engineering techniques such a narrow trenching enabled pure fibre to be deployed “at lower cost and more quickly”.

Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex are the areas targeted for the FTTP roll out.

The announcement comes just over a month after BT announced plans to deploy FTTP networks to all new sites containing 250 premises free of charge.

Earlier this week, Openreach rival CityFibre expanded its pure fibre network to Leeds and Bradford.

The UK’s FTTP/H/B infrastructure continues to lag behind others in Europe.

The country again failed to make the FTTH Council Europe’s annual listing, which ranks those with subscriber numbers equating to at least one percent of the total number of households.

[Read more: Growth in FTTH/B slows across Europe]

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said: “Our £3bn investment to bring ultrafast connectivity to more parts of the UK is not just about better broadband, it’s about future-proofing the country’s network infrastructure with the best and most modern technology.

“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network - delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds.”

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