45.600 More Scottish Homes and Businesses Set for Super-Fast Broadband

Six more exchange areas included in latest phase of BT’s £2.5 billion super-fast fibre broadband programme; Announcement welcomed by Scottish Government

Another 45,600 homes and businesses in Scotland are set to benefit from super-fast broadband, BT announced today.

Galashiels and Peebles in the Scottish Borders, Perth, Bannockburn in Stirlingshire, Morningside in Edinburgh and Strathaven in South Lanarkshire are among the latest places included in the company’s £2.5 billion roll-out of fibre broadband.

It will take the number of Scottish homes and businesses being passed by the new super-fast network to more than 372,000. The latest upgrades are due to be completed by Autumn 2012.

BT’s local network business Openreach expects to make super-fast fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015*. It is building the new network using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. Both provide much faster speeds than those previously available to many UK homes and businesses.

FTTC, delivered to street cabinets, currently offers download speeds of up to 40Mbps and upstream speeds up to 10Mbps. Openreach is planning to roughly double these speeds next year. FTTP, where the fibre goes directly to homes and businesses, will offer speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “BT’s roll-out of super-fast broadband is marching on. Residents and businesses in these latest locations can look forward to choosing a high-speed connection over a network offering an unrivalled choice of suppliers, which keeps competition thriving and costs down.

“Our latest investment in these six exchange areas will propel internet users at home and at work into the 21st century fast lane, and marks another milestone in the development of Scotland’s next generation communications.

“We have plans to take super-fast broadband to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2015 but we don’t want to stop there. We have long said reaching the ‘final third’ will require a partnership approach and we welcome the fact that the UK government has recently allocated funding of hundreds of millions of pounds for next generation broadband initiatives for these more challenging areas.

“BT has the strength and the commitment to deliver large-scale broadband projects and we want to play a leading role in bringing faster technologies to our rural communities.

“As today’s investment demonstrates, BT is playing its part in delivering faster broadband across the UK – but there needs to be a collective effort to ensure no part of Scotland  is left behind.” 

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said: “Ensuring access for all parts of Scotland to next generation high-speed broadband by 2020 is a key priority for the Scottish Government.  Today’s announcement by BT is helping to deliver a world-class broadband infrastructure, which is improving access for businesses and communities across the country.

“We are working closely with key stakeholders in the development of a strategic national broadband plan to transform this vision into a reality. We are clear that the private sector has a significant role to play too, and today’s announcement is a welcome step forward towards achieving our vision.

“I want Scotland to have access to a fit-for-purpose, twenty-first century communications network that will bring benefits to Scotland’s economy and communities.”

Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. For instance, a family could be downloading a movie, watching a TV replay service, surfing the internet and playing games online. A music track can be downloaded in about two seconds, a whole album in 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in 10 minutes.

Upload speeds are the fastest in the UK, allowing large videos and data files to be sent almost instantly and activities, such as uploading hi-resolution photos to Facebook, to be completed in seconds.

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers network access to service providers on an open, wholesale basis, supporting a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s super-fast broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk

Notes to editors

* BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that a small minority of premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to be served by fibre-based broadband. However, Openreach is actively looking at alternative solutions for these locations.

Contact: BT Scotland Press Office
Phone: 0800 085 0660

Website: http://www.btplc.com/news