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Virgin Media is to extend its ultrafast broadband network to thousands of homes and businesses in Scotland.

Delivered as part of the provider's Project Lightning programme, the network offers broadband speeds of up to 350Mbps.

Virgin Media believes this will be a "welcome boost" to Scotland, as the download speeds on offer are more than eight times faster than the national average of 42Mbps.

Among the areas to benefit from the rollout will be Bathgate, Bonnyrigg, Cranhill and Joppa, while work will also be carried out in Jordanhill, Kilbirnie, Kilmarnock, Shettleston and Stepps.

More than 100,000 premises in Scotland have been connected to ultrafast broadband in the last two years as a result of Project Lightning thus far.

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary, has therefore hailed this latest announcement, commenting: "I am encouraged by [Virgin Media's] promise to connect thousands more Scottish homes and businesses in 2018, building on their current rollout in Scotland."

Mr Ewing stated that by creating the "right environment to encourage the likes of Virgin Media to invest in our urban areas", along with investing £600 million in rural areas, the Scottish government is ensuring it meets its commitment to deliver 100 per cent superfast broadband access across Scotland by the end of 2021.

Julie Agnew, Scotland Regional Director for Virgin Media, added that Scotland has been one of the "biggest beneficiaries" of its Project Lightning programme.

"We hope that working more closely with the government and local authorities will help accelerate Scotland’s digital ambitions more effectively and efficiently," she said.

Virgin Media launched its 350Mbps broadband service, which offers what it says is the fastest widely available broadband in the UK, last week.

Existing customers who are on the VIVID 300 package, the provider's fastest package until now, are being automatically transferred on to the new VIVID 350 service without charge.

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