Virgin Media pushes button on next-generation broadband boost for Edinburgh

Virgin Media has today switched on what it says is Scotland’s fastest home broadband in Edinburgh.
Gig1 is now available across the city as well as surrounding towns. Picture: contributed.Gig1 is now available across the city as well as surrounding towns. Picture: contributed.
Gig1 is now available across the city as well as surrounding towns. Picture: contributed.

The firm said that for the first time north of the Border, more than 250,000 homes in and around the Scottish capital will now be able to benefit from gigabit connectivity more than 17 times faster than the current local average.

Gig1 from Virgin Media is now available across the city as well as surrounding towns, encompassing Bo’ness, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Livingston, Bonnyrigg and Loanhead.

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Virgin Media hailed the next-generation broadband boost for Scotland. Picture: contributed.Virgin Media hailed the next-generation broadband boost for Scotland. Picture: contributed.
Virgin Media hailed the next-generation broadband boost for Scotland. Picture: contributed.
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The firm said the “major” broadband boost, which makes gigabit broadband widely available in the region for the first time, is part of its aim to bring gigabit speeds to more than 15 million homes across its entire network by the end of 2021, from almost one in five currently.

The firm’s chief operating officer Jeff Dodds said: “This is a next-generation broadband boost for Scotland. Whether people are working from home, learning online, video-calling friends and family, or bingeing on a box set in 4K, with hyperfast speeds… Gig1 means they can do everything they want online, at the same time, without delay.”

Scotland’s connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse welcomed the improved broadband capacity for Edinburgh. He said: “The value of access to digital connectivity has been highlighted by the role it has played in supporting the many jobs, services and sectors during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as home learning, and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in plans for our strategic economic recovery from the pandemic and in stimulating wider investment to Scotland’s capital city.”

Crucial service

Virgin Media also said the launch of Gig1 comes as new data reveals the importance of ultrafast broadband to Edinburgh residents. Nearly six in ten say they would not move to a house where they could not get fast broadband, while three in ten say they would pay more for a house with a good connection.

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More than four in ten believe that if they had faster broadband they would be able to work from home, with nearly six in ten saying it would make them more productive. Edinburgh residents also reported spending more time online than the national average – at least four and 3.5 hours a day respectively.

Meanwhile, a new private 5G network thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland is being set up by The Scotland 5G Centre and University of Strathclyde at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s (NMIS) specialist Advanced Forming Research Centre and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, in Renfrewshire.

Planned to be deployed in six months’ time, it will trial the use of 5G in a manufacturing context and “act as an exemplar for others to follow”.Once use cases are proven, it is anticipated they will be adopted by manufacturers across the country, creating their own pop-up private networks. The aim is for it to act as a catalyst for the adoption of 5G technologies across Scotland’s manufacturing sector.

Paul Coffey, head of The Scotland 5G Centre said: “The development of a private 5G network at NMIS facilities is an important first step towards the wider adoption of the next generation of connectivity in Scottish manufacturing.”

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