Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Dingwall

Upgrade hailed by local politicians as more than 3,300 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

Super-fast broadband has arrived in Dingwall, BT announced today. 

More than 1,640 homes and businesses in the Easter Ross town now have access to the high-speed technology – and these figures will increase to around 3,300 as engineers complete the local upgrade. 

Today, the BT investment was welcomed by local politicians Charles Kennedy and Dave Thompson, who described it as great news for the town. 

Charles Kennedy, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: “Better, faster communications boost businesses, helping them grow, and create more jobs. What’s more, local residents can enjoy faster browsing and downloading at home. This is great news for Dingwall and I look forward to fibre being rolled out across the rest of my constituency.” 

Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Super-fast fibre broadband in Dingwall will benefit both local residents and businesses. Broadband is an essential part of Ross-shire’s present and future. It’s vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our local economy to remain competitive. 

Dingwall follows Inverness and Nairn as the third location in the Highlands and Islands where fibre broadband is now available. They’ll be joined later this year by Elgin, Fort William and Oban, and next year by Dunoon and Forres, when the eight exchange areas will provide access to high-speed fibre to around 47,400 homes and businesses across the Highlands. All eight exchange areas are being upgraded thanks to BT’s £2.5 billion commercial fibre roll-out programme. 

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband continues apace across Scotland with Dingwall among the latest places to benefit. More than two million homes and businesses across the UK are already using our new fibre network. Local residents now have the opportunity to join them and find out for themselves why there’s such a buzz about fibre broadband. 
“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 city businesses. 

“Businesses working better with fibre tell us it’s helping them in a wealth of ways, from day to day activities like downloading software, collaborating with clients and moving large data files around to big business decisions like expanding the workforce or introducing better quality IT services at less cost. 

“BT is not just building a national communications network fit for 21st century Britain; we’re doing it at speed, making fibre broadband available to around 80,000 more premises a week.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 17 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable.1 

In parallel with this huge UK-wide commercial investment programme, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and BT have agreed a £146 million contract which will bring high-speed fibre broadband to every part of the region. 

This ambitious programme is being hailed as the UK’s most complex and challenging broadband project ever. More than £126 million of public funding is being invested through a partnership between the Scottish Government, BDUK and HIE. 

Together with BT’s commercial rollout, it means that around 84 per cent of Highlands and Islands homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2016. Extensive planning and survey work is already well under way with the first tranche of exchange upgrades unveiled earlier this month. 

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. 

According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 14.7Mbps. 

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services. 

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office. 

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 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.