A PROGRAMME to expand ultrafast broadband coverage in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire has been praised for bringing benefits to homes and businesses.

Project Lightning, operated by Virgin Media, has seen the internet provider’s network stretch to more than 500,000 premises across the Glasgow City Region.

The speed now accessible for these homes and businesses is around 18 times faster than standard broadband rates.

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The roll-out is part of the Glasgow City Region Deal – an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government and eight local council, including Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, to deliver improved infrastructure, create new jobs, tackle unemployment and drive innovation.

Councillor Tony Buchanan, leader of East Renfrewshire Council and holder of the Infrastructure portfolio for the region, said: “It is fantastic that so many more residents and businesses across the Glasgow City Region are able to benefit from ultrafast broadband and the enormous social and economic benefits it brings.

“This extended service will provide many opportunities across the region and I am encouraged by Virgin Media’s plans to connect thousands more homes and businesses over the next few years.

“The eight Glasgow City Region councils are committed to closer collaboration with our key utility providers to better understand the investment plans and constraints facing telecommunications, water, power, gas and transportation and consider how all parties involved can work together to maximise investment plans and deliver enhanced services to residents across the region.”

The Gazette:

East Ren Council leader Tony Buchanan 

Since 2016, Project Lightning has connected more than 120,000 premises across Scotland to ultrafast broadband, taking the total on Virgin Media’s network to over one million.

Over the past year, the internet provider has invested around £1billion in its network, bring “real benefits to its customers”.

Plans are also in place to connect additional premises which could extend the total reach of its network to up to 17 million homes and businesses.

This private investment programme makes Virgin Media the largest new broadband builder in the UK over the past two years, providing more coverage than all of its competitors combined.

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Julie Agnew, Scotland regional director for Virgin Media, said: “The Glasgow City Region has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of our Project Lightning programme and we are planning to connect thousands more homes and businesses this year.

“We hope that working more closely with the government and local authorities will help to accelerate the region’s digital ambitions more effectively and efficiently.”