MORE than a million Scottish homes and businesses will have access to BT’s fibre broadband network by the end of next year, the company announced today.
The news emerged as BT pledged to roll-out its £2.5 billion high-speed fibre broadband network to 147,000 more homes and businesses in Scotland, many of them in smaller towns outside the major urban centres.
The 35 latest communities to benefit, including Alva, Burntisland, Dingwall, Dunoon, Fort William, Kelso and Lesmahagow, are due to be upgraded in 2013. A full list of the communities is provided at the end of this news release.
The news was welcomed by Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Nicola Sturgeon, who said that fibre broadband would play a key role in enhancing Scotland’s digital future.
The latest investment will take the total number of Scottish homes and businesses able to connect to the fibre network to 1.13 million once the commercial roll-out announced to date is complete. More than 368,000 already have access, and BT is keen to bring more communities within reach by working with the public sector.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Today’s news marks a real milestone for Scotland, with more than a million homes and businesses now included in BT’s investment plans for fibre broadband. That means by the end of next year, around half the households in Scotland will be able to connect to our new fibre network.
“Fibre broadband opens up a whole new, high speed world. This latest major investment will help the 35 communities benefiting – many in more rural locations – to overcome the current economic challenges and take full advantage of the upturn when it comes.
“Digital technology is fundamental to how we live and work – and in an increasingly connected world, high speed communications will become even more essential in the years ahead. Research suggests fibre broadband could give a £143 million boost to a typical town’s economy and create 225 new jobs and 140 new businesses within 15 years. 1
“The fibre broadband network we’re building today will underpin the local economy for many years to come – and we’re keen to go further, working with the public sector to take technology to places outside current commercial roll-out plans.
“The arrival of fibre broadband in each of these new locations will revolutionise the way people use the internet for work, education and connecting with public services.”
Nicola Sturgeon said: “I very much welcome this latest announcement from BT. It is essential that households and businesses everywhere in Scotland have access to high-speed connectivity and fibre broadband will play a key role in enhancing our digital offering.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that a world class digital infrastructure is in place across Scotland by 2020 and that a significant increase in coverage has been achieved by 2015. This investment, along with significant investment by the public sector, will ensure that this ambition is achieved.”
BT’s local network business Openreach is making fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK homes and businesses on a commercial basis by the end of 20142 using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. More than 11 million premises can already access fibre broadband and that number is growing all the time.
Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 9Mbps. FTTC, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets, offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps3.
FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, offers a variety of download speeds with the current top speed being 330Mbps3. From Spring 2013 BT aims to make speeds of 330Mbps3 available on demand in any area where FTTC has been deployed4.
Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. 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.
The upload speeds are the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel.
For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
Locations included in today’s announcement:
|DUNOON||Argyll and Bute||FORT WILLIAM||Highland|
|HELENSBURGH||Argyll and Bute||ELGIN||Moray|
|FAIRMILEHEAD||City of Edinburgh||KILBIRNIE||North Ayrshire|
|DARVEL||East Ayrshire||AIRDRIE||North Lanarkshire|
|COCKENZIE||East Lothian||BELLSHILL||North Lanarkshire|
|HADDINGTON||East Lothian||GLENBOIG||North Lanarkshire|
|TRANENT||East Lothian||HOLYTOWN||North Lanarkshire|
|GLENROTHES CENTRAL||Fife||WHITBURN||West Lothian|
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 onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product.
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Alternative solutions for these locations are being investigated.