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Thousands of new homes in Scotland could miss out on ultrafast broadband

Press release   •   May 05, 2019 12:00 BST

Infrastructure solutions director Matthew Kirkman speaks to developers in Edinburgh

Digital network operator Openreach has called on Scottish developers to make sure home buyers don’t miss out on ultrafast, full fibre broadband when they’re purchasing new properties.

More than 60 Scottish homebuilders at a conference at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh this week (Thursday) heard that around 3,000 new properties a year – around 13 per cent of the total1 across Scotland – are currently missing out on full fibre technology.

Openreach installs full fibre networks free of charge to all new housing developments of 30 or more homes and has cut prices by more than three quarters for smaller sites, where it will co-fund work.

Full fibre is capable of broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps)2, more than 20 times faster than the current UK average.

Event speaker Matthew Kirkman, Openreach’s Director of Infrastructure Solutions, said: “Full fibre is the future. Scotland’s digital journey from copper to full fibre will take years, with the UK government having an ambition for everywhere to have access by 2033.

“Developers building entirely new housing have a great opportunity to be right at the forefront. Many are already on board, with around 87 per cent of new homes in Scotland signing up with us for full fibre. The remainder are split between a superfast service via Fibre to the Cabinet, or copper.

“We believe we can do better, and that’s why we’ve organised today’s event. We want to build closer relationships with Scottish developers large and small, and show how we can help them create future-proof networks in their new developments - and why it matters.”

He added: “Research from the London School of Economics has shown that the standard of connectivity has a direct impact on house pricing, so building reliable, ultrafast connections in new developments is a no-brainer.

“We want to see full fibre installed in all new developments, and all residents having access to a competitive retail market through our open network.”

The event was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark. Other speakers included Stephen Kemp, managing director of Orkney Builders, who has worked with Openreach to install full fibre in the Grainbank development by Kirkwall, and Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, the main industry body for housing developers in Scotland.

Edinburgh is the first city in Scotland – and one of the first in the UK – to be included in Openreach’s rollout of full fibre technology. More than 30,000 premises can already connect in city areas like Abbeyhill, Corstorphine, Roseburn, Gorgie, Haymarket, Murrayfield and Newington.

The company is on track to bring ultrafast services to three million UK premises by the end of 2020 and, with the right conditions, 10 million by the mid 2020s.

Openreach aims to work with developers from the earliest possible stage to make sure that people can enjoy the benefits of full fibre when they move into their new homes. Developers can register their new siteson the Openreach website.


1 The total number of new build properties contracting with Openreach for communication services.

2 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. These are wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

About Openreach

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.

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