SUPER-FAST, fibre-based broadband is now available to more than 100,000 Scottish homes and businesses, BT Scotland director, Brendan Dick, will announce at a major conference in Edinburgh tomorrow (Wednesday).
Since beginning the roll-out in Scotland, a team of 62 engineers has deployed the service to 12 exchange areas, bringing high-speed internet access to parts of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife as well as Bothwell and Livingston.
The roll-out has connected some 376 street cabinets with more than 125 km of fibre, equivalent to 50 times the length of the Forth Road Bridge. To minimise the disruption that an engineering project of this scale can cause, a large amount of the work has been carried out at night.
Fibre to the street cabinet offers download speeds of up to 40Mbps and an upload capability of 10Mbps. The super-fast speeds will power new business applications and more sophisticated home and entertainment services.
Mr Dick will announce the milestone at the Next Generation Roadshow organised by the Independent Networks Co-Operative Association (INCA) at Heriot-Watt University conference centre. The event will highlight how next generation broadband can boost the Scottish economy and consider how to overcome the challenges ahead.
He said: “It’s great that more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Scotland can now reap the benefits of super-fast broadband speeds. But we can’t stop here. IT infrastructure deployment in Scotland is particularly demanding and all sectors of Scotland’s economy need to work together to find ways to bring super-fast broadband to locations where the economics are more challenging.”
Dr Lesley Sawers, chief executive, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, said: “BT’s roll-out of super-fast broadband is essential to Scotland achieving its potential in the global economy. Our ambition is for the value of Scotland’s exports to double by 2020. Providing enhanced connections from Scotland to the rest of the world is a critical factor in achieving this. We look forward to continuing our work with BT Scotland to achieve our objective of complete super-fast broadband coverage for Scotland.”
BT has announced plans to invest up to £2.5 billion in super-fast broadband, which could become available to around two-thirds of UK premises by 2015, assuming an acceptable environment for investment. The investment is one of the largest in the world that doesn’t rely on public sector funding and where the network is open to all service providers on an equal basis. Further roll-out plans are expected to be announced soon.
During the event, Mr Dick will outline how BT is already working in partnership in a number of areas in the UK. Some are major multi-million pound projects, such as the partnership in Northern Ireland where BT will invest about £30 million to bring faster broadband to 85 per cent of the population. Others are smaller scale initiatives such as working with the parish council of Iwade in Kent where £13,000 of public sector funding helped unlock BT investment to bring fibre to all 1,350 premises.
He added: “Partnership works – I strongly believe this type of innovative approach could offer real opportunities and a potential gear change for forward thinking parts of the UK.”
Super-fast speeds allow users 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 or 3D TV, while others play online games or work on complex graphics or video projects.
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.
BT’s fibre roll-out is only one of its activities to bring high-speed broadband to Scotland. The company has already provided 735,026 Scottish homes and businesses with access to speeds of up to 20Mbps by upgrading the existing copper network. By Spring 2011 more than 1.2 million Scottish homes and businesses will have access to this faster copper-based broadband service.
Householders and businesses can contact their broadband service provider for further information.
Notes to Editors
Super-fast broadband enabled exchanges:
For further information
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