Mid & East Antrim Mayor welcomes broadband boost

THE Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, has welcomed a broadband boost for the area.

He said: “The announcement that residents within Mid and East Antrim will be able to benefit from Virgin Media’s next-generation Gig1 broadband is very much welcomed.”

Virgin Media has switched on Northern Ireland’s fastest gigabit home broadband in Mid and East Antrim, offering connectivity more than 25 times faster than the regional average.

The operator’s entire network of nearly 400,000 homes across the region can now benefit from Virgin Media’s next-generation Gig1 broadband which offers average download speeds of 1,140Mbps. This includes homes in Belfast, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Craigavon, Derry/Londonderry, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Portadown and other towns.

The major connectivity boost comes at a time when many people are increasingly reliant on their home broadband to stay connected to the things and people that matter to them.

It forms part of Virgin Media’s plan to bring gigabit speeds to more than 15 million homes across its entire network by the end of 2021.

Northern Ireland has joined London in the UK’s largest ever gigabit switch on with nearly 3 million more homes being added to Virgin Media’s growing gigabit footprint. The province is the first area to benefit from a complete region-wide Gig1 launch.

The launches mean that, in total, 6.8 million homes across the UK can now access these hyperfast speeds from the nation’s largest gigabit provider. The Government has set a target for all UK premises to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025.

The next-generation launch comes as new research reveals that people working from home are wasting an average of 11 minutes per day to slow broadband – equivalent to four full working days since the start of lockdown in March.

Virgin Media’s Gigabit Opportunity report identifies that eradicating this lost time with gigabit broadband could unlock a potential economic benefit worth more than £11bn a year in saved working hours.

Virgin Media’s investment means its entire network in Northern Ireland can now access gigabit speeds. In August, Virgin Media Ireland also activated its gigabit network in the Republic of Ireland.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “The announcement that residents within Mid and East Antrim will be able to benefit from Virgin Media’s next-generation Gig1 broadband is very much welcomed.

“At a time when more people are working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, it is vitally important that they have access to decent, affordable broadband so they can fulfil their duties whilst working remotely.

“It is also extremely important for us to be able to connect with friends and family at this time. For many video calling has become the norm so it is essential that residents across Mid and East Antrim have access to a good quality broadband service.”

Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, said: “I welcome Virgin Media’s investment in Northern Ireland and this significant achievement in further expanding gigabit capable fibre services to citizens and businesses.

“This comes at a time when the importance of telecommunications has become so prominent. Connectivity will play a vital role in re-building the Northern Ireland economy as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.”

Seamus McCorry, Northern Ireland Regional Director at Virgin Media, said: “As part of our continued multimillion pound investment in Northern Ireland, the country now boasts some of the world’s fastest broadband speeds as a result of Virgin Media’s latest Gig1 switch-on.

“These hyperfast speeds will empower those working from home, learning online, video calling friends and family, or binging on a box set in 4K – all of which can be done at the same time, without delay.

“Whatever the future holds, we’re connecting our customers to what’s next.”

Virgin Media has invested more than £150 million in Northern Ireland since 2016, improving connectivity by expanding its network across the country as well as opening a brand new office in Belfast.

The company also won a Government-backed Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) contract in Belfast last year which saw more than 200 Belfast City Council locations connected to its ultrafast network, including offices, parks and tourist attractions across the city region.

Customers can find out more at www.virginmedia.com/Gig1Fibre

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