PAVEMENTS in Musselburgh are to be dug up over the next nine months as Virgin Media begins work to expand its network to Musselburgh in April, with the aim to connect up to 6,000 premises.

The company says that this will help bring “ultrafast broadband speeds of up to 362Mbps – the fastest widely available speeds in the UK – to the area.”

Speaking at a meeting of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council last week, Eddie McGuigan, the company’s community liaison officer, said that the project to lay fibre cable underground would get under way in mid-April.

He said: “We will be in Musselburgh itself for the next eight or nine months, certainly until Christmas time.”

He added: “The idea is to give everyone the opportunity to get the cable.

“It’s a great thing for businesses and homes that use a lot of internet and wi-fi.

“The downside to that is we are going to have to do some work on your pavements. We do about 100 metres a day, so wherever we are, we come and go quite quickly.”

He added that trenches would be created and high-pressure air used to blow a high fibre cable through.

Mr McGuigan said that small cabinets, which are connection points for the network to residents’ homes, would also be “dotted around” areas.

He stressed: “We don’t put them in corners or outside people’s front windows. They can’t be in the line of sight of someone and we keep them away from driveways.

“All the work we do is on adopted council land, so we speak to the council beforehand and get the notices in.

“If we need to go into any private estates, shared drives and private roads, we seek way leave which is permission to go in there. If we don’t get that, we don’t go in.”

Small diggers will be used to carry out the work and soft areas will be dug up by hand.

Mr McGuigan added: “The barriers will go up if there is a driveway and we will make sure it’s covered. We have ramps to go over, so everyone can get in and out.

“We will dig up the pavement – unfortunately there will be a scar. We do it the same colour as the pavement. If it’s slabs, we will lift them up and put them back down. If it’s mono block, we have special mono blocking teams. If it’s just concrete, we use the same colour concrete. We will have multiple crews in multiple areas.”

He said that letters with his details would be sent out to local residents, adding: “If there is anyone on night shift, we will work round about that.”

Mr McGuigan said the work would start at the Fisherrow Harbour end of Musselburgh, with Wallyford the next phase, then Tranent and Port Seton.

Information events will be held and a pop-up gazebo with information will also be located in the town centre.

A company spokesman added: “With a 362Mbps connection, files, films and games become unbelievably quick to stream, download and upload.”