Virgin Media plans to connect more homes in Scotland to ultrafast broadband

23 May 2019

Above L-R : Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Colin Rae- Head of Build for Scotland at Virgin Media, Brigitte Trafford- Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media, Colin Brown- Director of build for Scotland at Virgin Media

  • Digital connectivity in Scotland top of the agenda as Virgin Media and Paul Wheelhouse MSP meet in Musselburgh
  • The Scottish government has pledged that all homes should have access to superfast broadband by 2021
  • Virgin Media, which has the UK’s fastest widely available network, with average speeds of 516Mbps, has connected more than one million homes and businesses across Scotland and has committed to further expansion over the coming years

Virgin Media has reaffirmed its commitment to expand its ultrafast fibre network to new areas and thousands more homes in Scotland, which will help improve connectivity across the country.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP was given a tour of a Virgin Media dig site in Musselburgh – which is part of a larger rollout in East Lothian and will connect more than 6,000 homes by the end of the year – to highlight the work carried out to lay fibre-rich cables to homes and businesses.

Scotland connectivity

Virgin Media has already connected more than one million premises in Scotland to the UK’s fastest widely available network which now boasts average speeds of 516Mbps. This is more than 11 times faster than the average speed in Scotland (46Mbps*) and means customers can perform multiple tasks online.

The Scottish Government has made a commitment as part of its ‘Reaching 100’ (R100) programme to connect every premise in Scotland to broadband speeds in excess of 30Mbps.

Ofcom’s Connecting Nations 2018 report states that 92% of premises in Scotland can access such speeds, but this drops to 44% for ‘ultrafast’ speeds, which is 300Mbps and higher.

Virgin Media is highlighted in the report as one of the key drivers of ultrafast connectivity in Scotland. The company’s private investment, and continued rollout, aims to connect more areas in Scotland over the coming years.

Virgin Media raised some key issues in its meeting with Mr Wheelhouse MSP that it believes need to be addressed so that the ultrafast broadband can be rolled out to more areas in Scotland more rapidly.

This includes:

  • Local Authorities to ensure that all new housing developers consult more than one provider to maximise fibre rollout and provide choice for homeowners
  • Westminster and Scottish Government to make it easier for broadband providers to secure wayleave access for multi-dwelling units (MDUs)
  • Scottish Government to work closely with Virgin Media to ensure that its investment and rollout complements R100

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that every household and business in Scotland has access to superfast broadband at speeds of 30 Megabits per second or better, and this is a commitment that has been backed up by a £600 million investment in the Reaching 100 percent Programme, or R100, with £579 million of this funding coming from the Scottish Government.

“Investment from commercial suppliers is also critical to achieving our target which is why I am delighted to see Virgin Media extend the reach of its network. Our approach will build on our previous investment, which has seen more than 95% of premises across Scotland now able to access fibre broadband.”

Colin Brown, Director of build for Scotland at Virgin Media, said: “As part of our ultrafast broadband expansion in Scotland, Virgin Media has invested millions of pounds to help bring better and faster connectivity to more homes and businesses. Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, we want to reach new areas in Scotland so they too can enjoy the benefits our network can bring.”