Virgin Media is to extend its ultrafast broadband network to more than 7,000 homes and businesses in Sunderland.
Work on the infrastructure upgrade has already commenced and means that, by the end of next year, local people will be able to benefit from broadband speeds of up to 362Mbps. This is nearly ten times faster than the local average.
Virgin Media stated that with a 350Mbps connection, households will be able to download a standard HD movie file (5GB) in about two minutes.
Meanwhile, the time it takes to download a 25GB console game has fallen to just over ten minutes.
The gigabit-capable lines will also enable local people to sign up to Virgin TV and use its 4K-ready V6 set-top box.
As a result, residents will be able to access up to 260 TV channels, including up to 50 HD channels, Sky Movies, Netflix and all the football from Sky Sports and BT Sports, as well as an extensive selection of box sets and movies.
Hugh Woolford, Regional Director for Yorkshire & North East at Virgin Media, commented: "More families and small businesses across Sunderland will soon be benefiting from our brilliant broadband service.
"Giving them greater speeds will enable them to do the things they need to do and love doing more quickly and more easily."
Mr Woolford went on to stress that while laying new fibre cables means it will have to dig up roads and pavements, Virgin Media will do its best to minimise any disruption to the community.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added that he is delighted that Virgin Media is continuing to invest in the city.
He described the announcement as "fantastic news" for Sunderland and said it "fits perfectly with our ambitions to establish the city as a digital pioneer".