£200m boost: Virgin Media O2 extends 5G coverage to more Scottish towns and cities

Virgin Media O2 has announced a number of major upgrades across Scotland after revealing it has invested more than £200 million over the last seven years boosting connectivity north of the Border.

The telecom and media firm’s 5G coverage in Scotland now covers 58 towns and cities - each with more than 50 per cent population coverage - including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness and Perth.

As part of this expansion, 37,000 postcodes across Scotland now have 5G coverage, with recent investment helping to expand the network by around a third in the last year alone.

Newly deployed low band 5G spectrum is giving more people access to next generation network speeds and capacity, bosses said.

Scottish business minister Ivan McKee, pictured with black and white brolly, visited a dig site in Glasgow to follow the process of laying fibre cables to reach new homes in the area.

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The company has also invested cash upgrading its 4G network, providing the backbone of mobile connectivity around the country. Across Scotland, capacity has been boosted in some 33,000 postcodes, including in Glasgow, Kirkcaldy, Stirling, Perth, Inverness and Edinburgh.

It comes as the group continues to invest more than £10 billion across the UK.

In a boost to rural communities, Virgin Media O2 has upgraded its mobile infrastructure to provide new services as part of the shared rural network (SRN) programme. A recent example of the impact this is making is on the Isle of Gigha, where residents and businesses now have access to faster and more reliable 4G services, improved network capacity and an enhanced mobile experience, the firm said.

Recent research suggests that the roll-out of high-speed 5G services could add £17bn to the Scottish economy, helping to create 160,000 jobs and 3,000 additional businesses.

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Scottish business minister Ivan McKee visited a dig site in Glasgow to follow the process of laying fibre cables to reach new homes in the area.

He said: “Investment by Virgin Media O2 across gigabit-capable broadband, 4G and 5G mobile coverage is helping improve digital connectivity. This includes provision of 4G on a number of our Scottish 4G infill programme sites and significant investment in 5G, with coverage added to more than 28,000 postcodes over the past year, including in Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Perth.

“Improving our digital infrastructure is critically important and will help build a more prosperous, resilient, equal and sustainable economy as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

Last year, Virgin Media O2 announced its intention to upgrade its fixed network to full fibre to the premises (FTTP) by 2028.

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More recently, the firm’s shareholders, Liberty Global and Telefónica, alongside investment firm, InfraVia Capital Partners, announced a major investment of about £4.5bn with the creation of a new fibre joint venture. Up to seven million premises will be provided with access to a new wholesale full-fibre network.

To minimise the environmental impact of its fibre rollout, the company has trialled the use of recycled aggregate while working with Glasgow City Council to expand its broadband network in Cranhill. The success of the trial, which saw the sustainably sourced materials undergo on-site testing and monitoring, paves the way for more expansive use of recycled materials in future.

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