OVER one in three Scots households will today be able to access Scotland’s 'fastest home broadband' as Virgin Media switches on its next-generation broadband service.

Virgin Media says around 800,000 Scots homes will now have access to gigabit speeds which are more than 22 times faster than the current local average.

The communications giant says the switch-on of its Gig1 broadband service today in and around Glasgow will make it the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider overtaking BT Openreach.

The new Gig1 service will reach around 500,000 homes across Glasgow and the surrounding areas including Motherwell, Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. Also benefitting will be addresses in Falkirk, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Virgin Media activated the service to around 300,000 households in Edinburgh and the surrounding area last month.

But the service, which offers speeds 22 times faster than Glasgow’s average broadband connection, comes at a premium cost.

READ MORE: Virgin Media down? Customers report service outage

For those wanting to upgrade, prices start from £62 per month on an 18 month contract with a guaranteed price freeze for at least 24 months. That is more than twice the typical cost of broadband from multiple providers for broadband speeds averaging between 63 and 70mbps according to data from USwitch, the price comparison site.

HeraldScotland:

The launch comes as new data reveals how essential fast broadband is to Glaswegians.

More than half of residents say they would not move to a house where they could not get fast broadband with nearly a third saying they would pay more for a house with a good broadband connection.

Virgin Media says that with average download speeds of 1,140Mbps, residents can stream 4K box sets, download video games, join video calls, and upload files - all seamlessly and without interruption The move comes less that a week after BT subsidiary Openreach said that more than 60 small towns and villages in Scotland at risk of being left behind in the internet revolution are to get next-generation full-fibre broadband over the next three years.

The communities join over 200 in other parts of the UK which have suffered from poor internet service because providers have been slow to build faster networks due to prohibitive costs and low economic returns.

Openreach outlined £12 billion plans to make "ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable" full-fibre broadband available to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

Scotland’s connectivity minister, Paul Wheelhouse, described the move as "terrific news" adding: "The value of access to digital connectivity has been highlighted by the role it has played in supporting the many jobs, services and sectors during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as home learning, and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in plans for our strategic economic recovery from the pandemic and in stimulating wider investment to Scotland’s largest city.

“The Scottish Government places a very high priority on enabling access to superfast broadband services across all of Scotland and this commercial development is one of many projects that are underway to ensure this happens and which complement our own investment programmes to secure broadband and mobile infrastructure that benefits all of Scotland.”

It comes after Giffnock and Kirkintilloch were identified by a new study as the most desirable places to live in the UK for the post-Covid commuter, a new study reveals.

The research by Garrington Property Finders aimed to discover the best areas in the UK for the 'new normal' involving more working from home as the UK including access to faster broadband.

Virgin Media says the move in Scotland comes as it plans to bring gigabit speeds to more than 15 million homes across its entire network by the end of 2021.

The latest switch-on takes Virgin Media’s gigabit footprint to 3.6 million premises across the UK with more locations being added later this year.

The Government has set a target for all UK premises to have access to gigabit speeds by 2025.

Jeff Dodds, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, said: “Whether people are working from home, learning online, video calling friends and family or binging on a box set in 4K, with hyperfast speeds more than 22 times faster than Glasgow’s average broadband connection, Gig1 means they can do everything they want online, at the same time, without delay.

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

A study in December revealed that nearly half of the constituencies in Scotland have poor mobile phone signals and broadband connection due to a substandard technology network.

According to the analysis, of 269 areas in the UK with the worst mobile and broadband service, 29 were in Scotland – amounting to around half of all the parliamentary constituencies in the country.