Thousands more homes in South Shields, Jarrow and Hebburn get gigabit broadband
Thousands more households in South Tyneside are set to benefit from faster broadband after upgrade work.
Virgin Media O2 has added thousands of homes in the borough to its gigabit network, connecting areas to broadband speeds 15 times faster than the local average.
The company said its next-generation Gig1 broadband service, with average download speeds of 1,130Mbps, is the fastest available from any of the major broadband providers in the UK and improves the experience of working, streaming, socialising and gaming.
As part of the gigabit switch-on this week, Virgin Media O2 has upgraded thousands of homes in central South Shields, Harton, Horsley Hill, Jarrow and Hebburn to gigabit speeds.
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The company said more homes in the area will be connected to gigabit broadband over the coming months.
By the end of 2021, Virgin Media O2 said it will deliver gigabit broadband speeds across its entire network of more than 15 million homes.
Stuart Reid, South Tyneside Council’s corporate director for business and resources, said: “The delivery of gigabit capable broadband is great news for homes, schools, services and businesses across the area and will support residents to get quicker access to information online for work, study or leisure.
“The importance of fast, reliable broadband speeds cannot be overstated, particularly after such a challenging period for all. It is crucial to our communities and will go a long way to supporting the Borough’s recovery from the pandemic.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: "We've kicked off the biggest broadband build in British history thanks to £5billion of government funding alongside significant investment from telecoms firms.
"I welcome Virgin Media O2's ambitious plans to speed up the delivery of lightning-fast gigabit connectivity to communities across the UK and give people what they need to keep pace with the digital revolution."
Lutz Schüler, chief executive officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are upgrading the UK to next-generation connectivity and today we’re hitting another important milestone with more than half of our network now able to access gigabit speeds.
“As the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider today, with a clear plan to connect our entire network to these speeds by the end of the year, we’ll be delivering most of the Government’s broadband target ahead of schedule. Our continued investment is propelling the country up gigabit league tables and providing consumers with the connectivity they need both now and in future.”
As part of its mission to upgrade the UK, the company has committed to invest at least £10billion over the next five years in the UK and, building on the success of its existing fibre network expansion activity, is actively exploring options to go further and faster by deploying fibre to millions of additional homes across the country.
This investment includes an accelerated monthly rollout of gigabit speeds to multiple locations across the UK between now and the end of the year.
This increased access is also contributing to the Government’s aim of having gigabit speeds passing at least 85% of UK premises by 2025.
Once Virgin Media O2 has completed its upgrade later this year, the company will have contributed almost two thirds of the Government’s minimum broadband ambition four years ahead of the target.