Virgin Media Business is inviting “digitally deprived” startups in Tech City to register their interest in a market trial. 

The pilot, involving up to 2,000 startups in the Shoreditch area of East London, will provide startups with dedicated fibre connectivity with upload and download speeds in excess of 50Mbps.

The trial is open to startups based around Old Street's
The trial is open to startups based around Old Street's "Silicon Roundabout" ©Flickr/Aleks

It also aims to improve connectivity in Shoreditch and the surrounding area by making it faster, cheaper and more reliable for small businesses to get online.

Virgin Media Business said it is particularly keen to test the technology with “digitally deprived businesses with a latent talent potential”.

The trial is open to premises that house two or more businesses, with one to 249 employees.

Prices range from £199 per calendar month for a 50Mbps connection to £249 per calendar month for a 100Mbps connection. Installation is free. 

"The trial is a market trial rather than a technology one," a Virgin Media Business spokesperson told Techworld. "We're keen to test to latent demand for such a proposition. Whilst the technology is not new, Virgin Media Business is offering a bespoke solution [in that] we are taking a product we know is fit for purpose into premises which can then share dedicated connectivity between multiple businesses working in the same building. This has not been done before and will provide these businesses access to speeds and reliability that would otherwise not be available to them."

It comes as UK business leaders call for increased connectivity across Britain.

Tech City CEO, Gerard Grech, MD of Virgin Media Business, Peter Kelly, and the founder and CEO of peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter, Rhydian Lewis, said connectivity across the UK needs to be improved in order to transform and support the country’s burgeoning startups.

TechCity UK, the lobbying group representing tech companies across the UK, has highlighted four issues facing businesses in the Shoreditch area. They include: speed, price, reliability and lead times.

While the Tech City trial will no doubt be welcomed by startups, it’s worth noting that the area’s broadband connectivity is considerably better than many other parts of the UK.

Indeed, thousands of UK businesses based in rural areas have been plagued by slow speeds or no connection whatsoever. 

A report out today revealed that nearly three quarters of the UK's tech firms can be found outside London