Nairn leads the way with soaring demand for super-fast broadband

More than one in five homes and businesses already using the service 13 months since BT launch

Nairn is embracing the high-speed internet revolution with among the strongest demand for super-fast broadband of any community in Scotland, BT announced today.

More than 700 local homes and businesses are now using the service, with more than one in five customers in the town who could get fibre optic broadband already benefiting from the high-speed technology just over a year after it started to become available. 

And demand is continuing to grow, BT Scotland director Brendan Dick will tell an audience of MSPs at a meeting in Edinburgh tonight (Wednesday). 

He said: “As the first place in the Highlands to have access to fibre broadband, the take-up rate in Nairn is hugely encouraging. In just a few months, more than 700 homes and businesses have decided to take full advantage of the huge benefits on offer. The take-up rate is at more than 20 per cent – one of the highest percentages in Scotland – and demand is still growing.

“It’s a good indication of the kind of appetite that exists for fibre broadband in our Highland communities. Access to this technology can play a major role in building the competitiveness of local businesses and offer new training and development and entertainment opportunities for residents. And with plenty of choice of suppliers and pricing, we’d urge even more local people to take advantage and get connected.”

The technology is now available to more than 15 million UK premises, including around 3,500 in Nairn and around 610,000 across Scotland. The network is expanding all the time and is due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – by the end of Spring 20141, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. More than 1.5 million UK homes and businesses are now using high-speed fibre broadband. 

BT is working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government to extend fibre broadband coverage to around 84 per cent of premises in Highlands & Islands by the end of 2016. Only around 21 per cent of premises in the area would have been covered by BT’s commercial deployment alone. 

BT’s local network business, Openreach, 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 80Mbps2 and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps2 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

Openreach is also starting 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 areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps2. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 12Mbps.

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 


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 broadband 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.