Juan Pablo Conti ©RapidTVNews | 10-08-2011

Virgin Media has revealed that it will stop servicing a large number of customers in Westminster, London.

This comes only a day after announcing that its cable network would be expanded in the UK by another 100,000 homes before the end of the year.

The pay-TV, broadband and telephone operator will pull out of a particular neighbourhood of the London borough from January 2012. It is already advising some 2,000 affected residential customers to find themselves an alternative communications service provider.

Virgin said the decision to withdraw from the area was a response to the practical impossibilities of upgrading the local aging analogue TV network to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard. Together with Milton Keynes, Westminster is the only area where Virgin Media doesn’t actually own the network it operates but leases it from BT instead.

Uniquely to Westminster, though, the conservation area status of the affected neighbourhood has made it extremely difficult for Virgin to obtain the necessary planning permission (or find alternative technologies) to upgrade the communications infrastructure to allow for digital TV transmissions. After about a decade of trying, the operator has now confirmed that it has given up.

Like the rest of London, Westminster TV viewers will see analogue television signals switched off next year.