Fiona O’Donnell MP and Iain Gray MSP explore East Lothian’s fibre broadband network

More than 22,500 local homes and businesses can now benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; local communities encouraged to get connected 

BT today demonstrated the technology behind its roll out of super-fast fibre broadband in East Lothian to Fiona O’Donnell MP and Iain Gray MSP, local members for East Lothian.

The politicians visited a new fibre street cabinet in Tranent to find out for themselves how the technology works and why it’s essential for East Lothian’s economic future.

They both urged local people to reap the benefits of BT’s investment in high-speed fibre broadband. The new network now passes around 22,500 homes and businesses in Dunbar, Musselburgh, Tranent and Cockenzie and Prestonpans.

Haddington is also being upgraded and when BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out is complete, around 30,000 local homes and businesses will be able to benefit in East Lothian.

During the visit, BT project manager Stephen Quinn showed Ms O’Donnell and Mr Gray how BT’s fibre technology street cabinet works.

Ms O’Donnell said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in boosting the local economy and building a more prosperous future. It’s great news that thousands of local people can now choose to connect to this exciting technology.

“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been fascinating to see today the progress that is being made and just how these powerful connections are carried across East Lothian. We will be working to ensure that every home in the county has access to fibre broadband.”

Mr Gray said: “To ensure East Lothian’s future success we need the right building blocks in place. One of these is having the digital technology to support our people and economy. It’s very interesting to see today how the deployment is rolling out in East Lothian. I will continue to work with all interested parties to secure fibre broadband for our more rural residents in East Lothian.”

BT is also working with the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners to expand fibre broadband technology beyond commercial boundaries. Alongside private sector upgrades, the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnerships will help take total fibre broadband coverage across Scotland to around 95 per cent by the end of 2017. BT is investing around £126m in the partnership projects. Further information about the project is available at: www.digitalscotland.org

Louise Humphrey, BT’s head of Scottish Affairs, who hosted the visit, said: “With the expansion of fibre broadband so firmly on the Scottish social and economic agenda, it’s great that Fiona O’Donnell and Iain Gray have spared the time to come and explore the inner workings of the technology.

“Local people may have noticed our green street cabinets being installed. This everyday street furniture is where the magic happens. As more than 2.7 million UK households and businesses have discovered, fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users.

“Like our partners in the Scottish Government and East Lothian Council, we are very focused not just on delivering the high-speed infrastructure but making sure that we fully exploit the benefits - as individuals and as a nation.”

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 19 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and has now passed two-thirds of UK premises, around 18 months ahead of the original timetable.

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. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

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.

BT’s network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visitwww.superfast-openreach.co.uk


Notes to editors
1 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.