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Virgin Media has announced that up to 12,000 homes and businesses in Newcastle 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.

This means homes in Newcastle will be able to receive broadband speeds of up to 300Mbps, while small businesses will get speeds of up to 350Mbps.

Virgin Media believes this will transform the quality of broadband in the area, as the current average download speed is just 20Mbps.

Hugh Woolford, Regional Director at Virgin Media, commented: "By expanding our network in Newcastle to thousands more homes and businesses, we are making the area a digital hotspot. 

"Time-strapped families will soon be benefitting from the reliability of a service that’s 15 times faster than the local average."   Households in Newcastle will be able to stream ultra-high-definition TV as a result of the speed improvements.

Local residents with Virgin TV's V6 set-top box will have access to up to 245 TV channels, including 50 in HD, Sky Sports and BT Sport channels, Sky Movies, Netflix and an extensive collection of box sets and movies.

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