03
March
2016
|
13:30
Europe/Amsterdam

More Falkirk premises get set for a superfast boost

Summary
Hundreds more households and businesses in the Falkirk area are next in line for a high-speed fibre broadband boost – thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

Nearly 800 more households and businesses in the Falkirk area are next in line for a high-speed fibre broadband boost – thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

The premises are in Airth and Denny, and will join more than 2,200 Falkirk premises which already have access to fibre broadband via the £410m Digital Scotland partnership, led by the Scottish Government.

The programme aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ investment plans.

All the work planned for Airth and Denny is on ‘Exchange Only’ (EO) lines, a historic legacy of the copper network which present unique engineering challenges. They run directly from the exchange to homes and business premises, bypassing the usual road-side cabinets which are a vital part of the fibre rollout.

Engineers have worked out an innovative way to integrate these lines into the fibre rollout, rearranging the existing network and laying hundreds of metres of new cables to reroute the lines through extra road-side cabinets, to overcome the hurdle.

Engineers expect the new fibre connections to start to become available by this summer* as Openreach, BT’s local network business, continues work on the ground.

To benefit from the faster connection speeds, residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades aren’t automatic.

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps** and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from.

Whether you own a business, work from home, research homework or want to keep in touch with friends and family, fibre broadband enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds and get better access to online services and faster uploads and downloads.

Councillor Malcolm Nicol, Falkirk Council’s Resources spokesperson, said: “It’s great news that more local homes are the next in line for a superfast boost, especially as exchange-only lines were once thought to be out of reach of fibre technology. We’re determined that everyone in the area will have access to digital services as well as the skills and confidence to go online and use them.”

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme underpins the Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a world class digital nation by 2020. It will deliver access to fibre broadband to around 95% of premises by the end of March 2018, when combined with existing commercial roll-out plans.

Delivered through two projects – led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their area and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland project – the partnership currently reaches more than 500,000 premises across the country.

Other funding partners include the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT is investing £126 million in the two projects, on top of its commercial rollout.

Sara Budge, Programme Director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “Many residents and businesses are now able to sign up for fibre broadband thanks to our programme, with more local coverage just around the corner.

“As with any engineering rollout on this scale there are risks and things do change from time to time, so we’ve been making improvements to our website to make sure people can get the very latest information with just a few clicks.

“You can find out all about the rollout and the status of the street cabinet you’re connected to, and sign up to be kept in the loop for progress reports, at www.scotlandsuperfast.com.”

Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Broadband Director, added: “We’re excited to be bringing more fibre technology to Denny - and to Airth for the first time - especially as it involves overcoming a major technical challenge in the shape of our historic EO lines.

“We’re also urging local people to check if they’re among the thousands who can already get high speed services. There’s lots of competition in the broadband market, and people may be pleasantly surprised to discover they could be surfing at much higher speeds at a similar cost to their current service.

“Once you’ve tried superfast broadband, you’ll never look back.”

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (http://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/) to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook atwww.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast

Ends

*Our deployment plans are subject to change. The expectations reflected in this plan are reasonable, but because our rollout involves risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ from those expressed or implied.

**These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

Notes to editors

Due to the current network topography and the economics of deployment, it is likely that not all premises within selected exchange areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband at the same point in the roll-out. Further announcements will be made as more areas are able to access the growing fibre infrastructure.