Media Release: Super-fast broadband ‘goes live’ in Glasgow and Edinburgh

MORE than 30,000 homes and businesses in Glasgow and Edinburgh now have access to super-fast broadband, BT announced today.

The upgrading of Halfway and Western exchange areas in Glasgow and Dean exchange in Edinburgh has now been largely completed. The three Scottish exchanges are at the forefront of BT’s £1.5 billion investment in super-fast fibre-based broadband in the UK.

Halfway serves the Hillington, Cardonald and Crookston areas, Western covers the west end of the city while in the capital, Dean services customers in Stockbridge and the New Town.

Fibre-based broadband is being laid by BT’s local network business Openreach to support speeds many times faster than those now experienced by most households.

The technology is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services. Householders and businesses can contact their broadband service provider to place an order or register their interest.

Bob Downes, director of BT’s local network business Openreach in Scotland, said: “Today sees a huge step in the delivery of a Scotland which is wired up for the 21st century. The upgrading of the network in parts of our two major cities puts Scotland at the forefront of BT’s UK-wide rollout of super-fast broadband and complements our delivery of a mix of new technologies across Scotland.

“The rollout of super-fast and the next generation broadband service ADSL2+ is creating a mixed broadband economy which will provide the country with the communications capabilities we need for the future.”

In the coming months, exchanges in Craiglockhart and Corstorphine in Edinburgh and Giffnock and Bridgeton in Glasgow will also be upgraded for super-fast broadband – allowing a further 70,000 Scottish homes and businesses to access fibre-based services.

And Bothwell, Dalgety Bay, Dunfermline, Livingston, Newton Mearns and Penicuik are set to benefit from fibre-based broadband by the end of the summer, taking the number of super-fast lines in Scotland to around 110,500.

BT is rolling out fibre-based broadband to at least 40 per cent of the UK – some ten million homes – by summer 2012. It is the largest single investment in super-fast fibre-based broadband ever undertaken in the UK.

Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband technology will deliver download speeds of up to 40Mb/s – with the prospect of 60Mb/s in the future. Upstream speeds will also be faster, giving customers greater flexibility in how they use the internet and offering businesses major advantages, including new services and more sophisticated communications, such as high-quality videoconferencing.

BT’s fibre plans build on existing initiatives such as its multi-billion pound 21st Century Network and its next-generation broadband ADSL2+. This network has already placed faster speeds of up to 24 Mb/s within reach of more than half of UK homes using the existing copper network. And more than 99 per cent of UK homes and businesses now have access to first generation broadband capable of delivering up to 8 Mb/s.

In a joint statement, MPs John Barrett, Jim Sheridan, Ann McKechin, John Robertson and Mohammad Sarwar, parts of whose constituencies will benefit from this announcement, said: “The arrival of super-fast broadband is a very important development for our communities and it represents a significant investment in this area. We welcome the opportunity for local householders and businesses to be at the forefront of benefiting from this exciting technology.”

The super-fast speeds are more than enough to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time. For example, some members of a family could be watching different high definition (HD) movies, while others are gaming or working on complex graphics or video projects. Music tracks could be downloaded in less than five seconds.

For businesses, the new network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Computer processing and storage of files will become more sophisticated and secure using ‘cloud computing’ technology. There will be faster back-up of computer systems and wider use of high quality videoconferencing within firms and between them and their customers.

While BT estimates that the great majority of premises in these areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband, it is likely that a minority in the area will not initially be able to receive services due to a variety of technical and commercial reasons. Openreach is actively looking at alternative solutions for these locations.

For further information please contact Mitch Reid or Anna Steven at the BT Scotland Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site:

Questions and Answers:

Q1. Why do you expect FTTC speeds to eventually rise from 40Mb/s to 60Mb/s?

A. Fibre-based technologies such as FTTC have substantial potential to be upgraded as the technology matures, by exchanging and upgrading equipment within the exchange.

Q2. Will public sector assistance be required to take super-fast broadband availability in the UK to more than 40 per cent?

A. Beyond 40 per cent there will be locations where public sector funding will be needed in order to make it commercially viable for super-fast broadband to be provided. We strongly welcome the opportunity to talk with organisations interested in participating in the roll-out of this exciting technology.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

In the year ended March 31, 2009, BT Group’s revenue was £21,390 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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Contact: Mitch Reid
Phone: 0131 448 4288