Media Release: 71,000 more Scottish homes and businesses set for super-fast broadband

BT today announced that another 71,000 homes and businesses in Scotland will have access to its super-fast broadband network. The company also revealed that five million premises across the UK will be able to get the high-speed technology by the end of this month.

For the first time, exchange areas outside the central belt are included in the investment programme, with two locations in the North East and one in the Highlands set for super-fast upgrades.

Aberdeen’s Ashgrove and Denburn exchange areas, Nairn, Cumbernauld, Inverkeithing and Glasgow Scotstoun are the latest places set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out, with upgrades expected to be completed either near the end of 2011 or in 2012. It will take the number of Scottish homes and businesses passed by the new super-fast network to more than 286,000.

BT’s local network business Openreach expects to make super-fast fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015*. It will use a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. Both are much faster than those speeds previously available to most UK homes and businesses.

FTTC, delivered to street cabinets, currently offers download speeds of up to 40Mbps and upstream speeds up to 10Mbps. Openreach is planning to roughly double these speeds next year. FTTP, delivering fibre all the way to homes and businesses, will offer speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: ”It’s great news that six more Scottish exchanges are joining the world’s fastest growing fibre optic network. This latest BT investment is another important step forward in the development of highly sophisticated communications in Scotland. I’m particularly pleased that we’re extending our roll-out further north, with parts of Aberdeen and Nairn now included in the programme. We know from feedback from the local community that deployment there has been greatly anticipated.

“No-one understands better than BT that fast and reliable internet connections are vital for business and central to our daily lives. We plan to bring super-fast fibre broadband to two thirds of the UK, but this isn’t the full extent of our ambition. We are determined to push beyond current commercial boundaries to work with public sector partners to reach the more challenging final third.

“Our tried and tested partnership approach is already rapidly extending super-fast broadband across rural parts of Northern Ireland and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. In both cases, BT is contributing the lion’s share of the funding for these exciting and ambitious projects. The deployment of super-fast broadband must be a strategic economic priority for all nations and regions of the UK, and we want to play a full part in delivery.”

Internet users with a fibre connection can do much more online, all at the same time. For instance, a family could be downloading a movie, watching a TV replay service, surfing the internet and playing games online. A music track can be downloaded in about two seconds, a whole album in 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in ten minutes. Upload speeds are the fastest in the UK, allowing large videos and data files to be sent almost instantly and activities, such as uploading hi-resolution photos to Facebook, to be completed in seconds.

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers access to service providers on an open, wholesale basis, supporting a competitive market.

Notes to editors

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that a small minority of premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to be served by fibre-based broadband. However, Openreach is actively looking at alternative solutions for these locations. * BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.

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Contact: BT Scotland Press Office
Phone: 0800 085 0660