Almond Valley MSP Angela Constance this week visited Openreach engineers working on one of the first installations of ultrafast broadband technology for new homes in Livingston.
She saw a ‘full fibre’ network being built directly into new homes at Staffa to deliver ultrafast internet connections. The future-proof, reliable services can carry speeds up to 1Gbps1 – around 18.5 times faster than the UK’s current average, which recently topped 54Mbps according to Ofcom.
The MSP also got an update on superfast services locally as she saw the inner workings of a nearby fibre street cabinet2. According to the independent website Think Broadband, 97 per cent of premises in West Lothian are now able to connect to broadband at a superfast speed of 30Mbps and above.
Superfast services make use of street cabinets (known as Fibre-to-the-Cabinet or FTTC) while ultrafast full fibre (Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP) goes directly to peoples’ homes.
Ms Constance said: “Scotland is in the early stages of a journey to full fibre connectivity, so it’s great that some constituents can already enjoy reliable broadband capabilities piped directly to their homes.
“With lots of new developments across Almond Valley, it’s really important home builders take early action to make sure that new houses are built with the latest technology in with the bricks. I welcome Openreach’s commitment to building more full fibre for Scotland in the months and years ahead.”
She added: “The Scottish Government has been working with Openreach over the last few years to extend broadband and most West Lothian households are now able to get a superfast connection.
“While there’s more work to do, I’d encourage local people to check if they can upgrade because it isn’t automatic. Many more people could be benefiting from better broadband right now.”
As well as its commercial investment in upgrades, Openreach has been working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners since 2013 to bring fibre-based broadband to communities which were not included in any upgrade plans by private companies.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership rollout has reached more than 23,000 West Lothian households and businesses, with most able to access FTTC broadband and small deployments of FTTP in areas where it’s the best technical solution.
Fraser Rowberry, Openreach service delivery director for Scotland, said: “We know good, reliable broadband is really important to local people. We’ve made great progress, with a high level of superfast broadband available across West Lothian.
“We welcomed the opportunity to show Angela Constance MSP our network in Livingston and see an example of the next generation of broadband already live in the town. Our engineers work hard every day to keep local communities, businesses and vital public services connected.”
Openreach’s FTTC footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps*, currently passes around 2.6 million homes and business premises in Scotland. It’s also starting to roll out FTTP more widely, with plans to reach four million homes and businesses across the UK by March 2021, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond.
Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.
We’re 33,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world.
Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected.
We work on behalf of more than 620 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27.5m UK premises
Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £13 billion into our network and, at more than 173 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,314 times.
Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re on track to reach four million premises with this ‘full fibre’ technology by March 2021 and ultimately, we want to upgrade the majority of the UK if the conditions are right. We’re also hiring around 3,000 trainee engineers this year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country.
Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed division of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions.
For the year ended 31 March 2019, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visit openreach.co.uk