Fiona Hyslop MSP gets up to speed with with superfast broadband
Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop has taken a behind-the-scenes look at the expansion of high-speed fibre broadband across West Lothian.
The MSP welcomed the progress being made on the programme when she visited Bathgate telephone exchange and a new fibre street cabinet in Whitburn as part of an update from BT on the local roll-out.
She urged local people to consider the benefits of a high-speed fibre broadband connection, which can be ordered through their chosen service provider.
BT’s commercial fibre roll-out now passes around 46,000 homes and businesses in Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn, Livingston Bridge, Livingston Station and Midcalder as well as Whitburn, offering access to fibre broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps*.
Further coverage in Whitburn is being provided through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which has already reached more than 4,400 premises in places including Fauldhouse, Harthill and Stoneyburn, with additional coverage in Bathgate and Armadale building on BT’s commercial roll-out there.
The roll-out of fibre broadband is being delivered on the ground by engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach.
Ms Hyslop said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in the stimulation of economic recovery and in building a more prosperous future for us all. It’s great news that thousands of local people can now connect to this exciting technology if they choose.
“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been interesting to see today the progress that’s being made. The arrival of fibre broadband means local people and firms can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices.
“West Lothian needs the right building blocks in place for the future – and one of these is having the digital technology to support our people and economy.
“I will continue to support my constituents’ interest with BT and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme and I look forward to fibre broadband being rolled out across the rest of the West Lothian area.”
Mark Dames, head of policy for BT Scotland, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband in Whitburn is another step forward in our roll-out of this exciting technology. More than 1.7 million homes and businesses across Scotland now have access to fibre broadband via a range of broadband service providers, bringing speed and choice.
“Through the combined efforts of BT and the Digital Scotland partnership, more than 50,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre broadband across West Lothian, and more will follow.
“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back.
“Outside the home, it also has huge potential for public services and local firms. Reliable, high speed connections help small businesses with everything from day to day activities like downloading software, videoconferencing and moving large data files around to big decisions like recruiting or introducing new IT services.”
Across the UK, BT is spending more than £3 billion on deploying fibre broadband, including £2.5 billion on its commercial fibre roll-out, and major investments in rural fibre broadband projects. BT is contributing £126m to the Digital Scotland rollout 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.
Further information about the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project can be found at www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen and more details on BT’s commercial rollout are at www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
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, which may also benefit from the local partnership activity outlined above.