(Pocket-lint) - In its largest expansion move in some time, Virgin Media has pledged to spend £3 billion in ensuring four million new homes and businesses in the UK can access its superfast fibre broadband network.

Backed by owner Liberty Global, the money will be spent over the next five years with all work expected to be completed by 2020. The plans also include the creation of 6,000 jobs, including 1,000 apprenticeships, and is backed by the UK government, with Prime Minister David Cameron heralding the move as a great step in ensuring the country will compete with the best in broadband speeds.

"I welcome this substantial investment from Virgin Media which is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to support business and create jobs by building a superfast nation backed by world-class infrastructure," he said.

"Together with this Government’s rollout of superfast broadband which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain."

Communities to benefit from the extension of Virgin Media's network, which will be able to receive speeds of up to 152Mbps, will initially be areas that are closest to the company's existing network. Consumers and businesses who cannot currently access the service can register their interest for expansion at virginmedia.com/cablemystreet.

Businesses can register at virginmediabusiness.co.uk/cablemybusiness.

Once the work is complete in 2020, Virgin Media will have covered over half the country, providing access to almost 17 million homes or businesses.

"Millions of homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit for the first time from broadband speeds at least twice as fast as those available from the other major providers," said Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media.

Writing by Rik Henderson.