MORE than 10,000 premises in Bury now have access to "superfast 5G" Virgin Media O2 mobile coverage after upgrade works.

The network has invested more than £5.5m into the borough with 46 per cent of premises in Bury now serviceable on its fixed network.

The company has spent more than £99m in Greater Manchester in recent years resulting in "significant broadband expansion".

More than 168,000 homes and businesses have now been built through the company’s Project Lightning programme.

This is coupled with the rollout of gigabit broadband speeds to more than 891,000 premises across Greater Manchester – delivering speeds 17 times faster than the regional average.

As part of the UK’s largest Local Full Fibre Networks Programme (LFFN), Virgin Media Business was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to connect more than 1,500 public sites to full fibre in Greater Manchester.

The multi-million-pound digital investment delivered economic benefits worth £11.8m in the first year alone.

As part of the programme, Virgin Media Business and the GMCA have now connected 16 homeless shelters, community centres and charities to its network since the project began and is providing free connectivity for local people.

The programme spanned a number of bold investments in social value initiatives supporting Greater Manchester’s Digital Blueprint.

This included a commitment from Virgin Media Business to create 50 apprenticeships based in the area and supporting the Greater Manchester Technology Fund by donating digital kit bundles to help 567 school children at risk of digital exclusion continue learning during lockdown.

The firm has also donated £100,000 to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity’s “A Bed Every Night” programme, to fund emergency bed spaces and additional assistance for those who are currently experiencing homelessness.

Chief technology officer at Virgin Media O2, Jeanie York, said: “Virgin Media O2 is spearheading the government’s levelling up agenda, via our gigabit broadband rollout and mobile network expansion, and our investment in Greater Manchester is testament to our commitment in the region.

"We’re dedicated to bringing the best customer experience to all our customers around the UK, whether that’s superfast network connections or via the donation of digital kit bundles to schools to help reduce the digital divide, as we continue to upgrade the UK.”

Cllr Bev Craig, GMCA lead for education, skills, work and apprenticeships, digital, said: “We welcome Virgin Media O2s announcement and are happy to see significant investment in the Greater Manchester region, which will boost our digital economy.

"It’s important that we see growth in the digital sector.

"Throughout the pandemic our people and our businesses relied on communications services more than ever, so it’s great to see that Virgin Media O2 is supporting these areas with next generation connectivity.

"This, coupled with our work to fix the digital divide across the region, are just two examples of ways in which we are ensuring Greater Manchester becomes a world leading digital-city region, a region that puts residents at the heart of our plans.”