Openreach has been demonstrating the next generation of broadband technology – future-proof, full-fibre services capable of carrying speeds up to 1Gbps* – to Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell.
On a fact-finding field trip with engineers, the MP and Secretary of State for Scotland visited Lockerbie telephone exchange; a fibre street cabinet in the town; and a small deployment of more reliable, ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP).
During the visit, Mr Mundell watched a full fibre installation to give residents in Powfoot access to the fastest* residential broadband speeds in the UK, while local Openreach engineers Gareth Owens, Kevin Hodgkins and Ian Graham explained the differences between fibre technologies.
According to the independent website Think Broadband, 80.5 per cent of premises in Mr Mundell’s constituency – one of the most rural in the UK – are now able to connect to broadband at a speed of 30Mbps and above.
Mr Mundell said: “Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been useful to see today at first hand the progress that’s being made.
“Good connectivity is absolutely vital for a strong local economy and, with around one in 10 Dumfries and Galloway households still only able to attain a broadband speed of less than 10Mbps, I am keen to make sure that progress continues at pace.
“It was particularly interesting to hear from Powfoot residents about the huge difference a full fibre connection will make to service speed, reliability and capacity, leaping from around 2Mbps to nearly 70Mbps.
“While this broadband utopia may be some distance away for most constituents, I am glad to hear that Openreach is investing locally to build fibre connections to peoples’ homes, and is testing efficient deployment methods in rural communities.”
Openreach has been working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners to expand fibre broadband beyond commercial boundaries since 2013.
The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership rollout has brought fibre broadband to dozens of communities in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency, including premises in Annan, Canonbie, Carlops, Coalburn, Eddleston, Kirkmichael, Rowanburn and Wanlockhead, and includes small deployments of FTTP in areas where it is the best technical solution.
The visit was hosted by Greg Fleming, Openreach’s senior operations manager for the area, who said: “We know good broadband is really important to local people and that there’s more work to be done.
“David Mundell shares our ambition to make sure everybody in Scotland has access to a quality broadband service. We appreciate that he was able to make time to come and learn about the challenges and realities of delivering digital technology into rural areas.
”Only Openreach has the commitment, experience, skills and local workforce needed to deliver an open, digital network for all of Scotland that is fit for the future.”
Openreach’s fibre-to-the-cabinet footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps*, currently passes more than 24 million UK homes and businesses, including more than 2.5 million in Scotland, where take-up stands at around a third.
Openreach is also starting to roll out FTTP more widely, with plans to reach three million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of 2020, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond. Edinburgh is the first city in Scotland to benefit from its Fibre First investment.
Notes to editors
*These are wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK – up to 1Gbps – fast enough to download a two hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.
Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.
We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, 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 Britain can be connected.
We work on behalf of more than 600 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.
We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.
For the year ended 31 March 2018, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visit openreach.co.uk