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Virgin Media has announced that 38,000 homes and business in the Edinburgh and Lothian areas are to be connected to its fibre optic network.

The rollout will form part of the ongoing Project Lightning, a £3 billion scheme to extend ultrafast fibre broadband to 17 million homes by 2019.

Virgin Media has already commenced deployment of the technology and expects the work to be completed before the end of next year.

The upgrades mean households will receive broadband speeds of up to 200Mbps, which Virgin Media says is more than two-and-a-half times faster than the maximum speeds offered by Sky, TalkTalk and BT.

Businesses with ultrafast connections will benefit from speeds of up to 300Mbps. Virgin Media says this is nearly four times faster than the maximum speeds available from its competitors.

Virgin Media has already confirmed it wants to add an extra 360,000 homes and businesses in Scotland to its ultrafast network, at least two-thirds of which will be connected connected directly with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband.

Martin McFadyen, Regional Director for Scotland at Virgin Media, commented: "We’re delighted to be expanding our network to thousands more homes and businesses to help to make Edinburgh a world-class digital city. 

"Residents will soon be getting the high-speed connectivity and top-notch TV they deserve. We urge residents to come together and register their interest - your street could be next."

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity for the Scottish government, added that having reliable broadband and mobile services is "rightly seen as part of essential, everyday infrastructure".

This, he said, is why the Scottish government is committed to making superfast broadband available to every home and business by 2021. 

Mr Ewing went on to state that the market has a "key role and responsibility to play", as it must invest fully in commercial areas and support efforts to connect hard-to-reach locations.

"That’s why I’m delighted by today’s announcement from Virgin Media, one of the key commercial providers in Scotland," he said.

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