HIGH-speed fibre broadband is now available to thousands more homes and businesses across five communities in Edinburgh, BT announced today.
The first premises in Abbeyhill, Leith, Newington, Portobello and Wester Hailes can now connect to the technology. More than 65,300 households and firms will have access as engineers complete the five local upgrades in the coming weeks.
Another 51,300 city premises have already been passed by earlier fibre investments and a further 61,300 are also due to be included.
By the end of Spring 2014 almost 178,000 homes and businesses across the city will be able to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme.
BT is also seeking to work in partnership with the public sector to reach any areas that lie outside its commercial footprint.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “BT’s fibre network continues to expand across Edinburgh bringing a welcome boost for local economies wherever it goes. Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical city by £296 million and create 430 new jobs, 320 start-up businesses and 1,500 more homeworkers1.
“As more than a million UK households and businesses have already discovered, fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users. Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. It’s great for education, shopping, entertainment, the social networking we now carry out routinely online and it also offers huge benefits for businesses and public services.
“The arrival of fibre can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, which may also help cut costs.”
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 15 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and is now due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – during Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 2
Brendan Dick added: “Our ambition doesn’t stop with our commercial roll-out. We’re keen to work with the public sector to extend fibre broadband to the remaining parts of Scotland that are harder to reach, as we are in the Highlands and Islands. Reaching two-thirds of the UK early will mean we’re well positioned to place an even greater focus on the challenge of the final third.”
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps3 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
From Spring 2013 Openreach aims to start to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand4 in areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 12Mbps.
Cllr Frank Ross, Economy convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is a significant step forward for digital Edinburgh. High-speed connectivity is a defining factor in our city’s long-term success. Important developments such as BT’s investment in super-fast broadband give a boost to the local economy and offer us the potential to create new opportunities, services and growth.”
At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
Notes to editors
1 Research taken from Social Study 2012 – The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting – see www.btsocialstudy.co.uk for more information.
2 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.
3 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
4 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product.
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.