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Edinburgh hits 100,000 fibre broadband roll-out milestone

Press release   •   Jan 28, 2014 00:00 GMT

News welcomed by the City of Edinburgh Council 

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Edinburgh, BT announced today.

The milestone was passed as the Fairmilehead and Granton areas became the latest communities to go live to offer the technology.

Almost 3,000 premises in Fairmilehead and 9,000 in Granton will be able to get connected to fibre once engineering work has been completed.

It means that fibre broadband is now available to some extent in all the city areas included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial fibre roll-out programme to date, with South Queensferry due to follow this Spring.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Passing the 100,000 mark is a major milestone in Edinburgh’s development as one of the UK’s leading cities for high-speed communications.

“Our investment in Edinburgh’s fibre infrastructure continues to build momentum and by the end of this Spring we expect some 175,000 city premises to be able to connect to our new, wholesale network, should they choose to take advantage.

“Across Scotland, more than 900,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre broadband. Whatever people want to do online, whether it’s shopping, selling, studying or social stuff, they can do it better and faster with fibre.

“High-speed connections can help local firms to work smarter and speed up day-to-day operations, which could also benefit the bottom line.”

In addition to its own deployment, BT is investing a further £126 million in fibre broadband partnerships with the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Broadband Delivery UK), European Regional Development Fund and local authorities.

Alongside commercial upgrades, these ambitious projects will see 85 per cent of Scottish premises passed by fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and around 95 per cent by the end of 2017.
Cllr Frank Ross, convener of the Economy Committee at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The fibre broadband milestone being passed marks a significant step for this city. High-speed digital connectivity is an important factor in Edinburgh’s long-term success and BT’s fibre roll-out across the city offers great potential to local firms and households.”

BT’s commercial fibre footprint currently passes more than 18 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable1.

Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps2 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand3 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps2.

At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors
1 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.
2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
3 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product.

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.