Issued by BT
BT today announced a major expansion of super-fast broadband in Scotland, including a fibre upgrade for Inverness.
The high-speed technology will become available to another 150,400 Scottish homes and businesses – including 18,200 in the Highland Capital – by Spring 2013.
They are among the 18 places in Scotland included today in the latest phase of BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out of super-fast fibre broadband in the UK. A full list of the new locations is at the end of this news release.
It will take the number of Scottish homes and businesses being passed by the new super-fast network to almost 836,000. More than 245,700 Scottish premises now have access to super-fast speeds with another 439,700 already planned for later this year, before today’s announcement.
The announcement was hailed today by Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, who said it would bring a major economic boost and assist people into new kinds of work, including starting up their own businesses.
He said: “This is a further major BT investment for Inverness Our roll-out of fibre broadband is going from strength to strength. In these tough economic times, this exciting technology will give a big boost to local businesses and households. Sophisticated communications are the lifeblood of any successful community.Super-fast broadband can give our businesses a significant competitive edge, helping them save money and improve their services at the same time. Fibre broadband also has the potential to change the face of public services and revolutionise entertainment at home. Families in these areas will be able to experience entertainment, shopping and a myriad of services delivered the super-fast way.”
Stuart Black, The Highland Council’s Director of Planning and Development said: “The upgrade of BT’s main Inverness exchange is good news for households and businesses in the city. The Highland Council has campaigned for the introduction of superfast broadband for several years and it is pleasing to see the Inverness exchange following on from BT’s earlier announcement of a similar improvement in Nairn. We will continue to work with BT and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to ensure upgrades for other communities in the Highlands”.
Welcoming the news, Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is an important step forward for the city of Inverness. High-speed digital communications are a defining factor in our long-term success. At a time of economic uncertainty, BT’s investment in super-fast broadband allows us to create new opportunities, growth and future potential. The development of super-fast broadband infrastructure across the Highlands remains a key focus for Inverness Chamber of Commerce.”
BT’s local network business Openreach is making super-fast broadband available to around two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2014* using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. More than seven million homes and businesses already have access and that will increase to 10 million later this year.
FTTC, where fibre is delivered to street cabinets, currently offers download speeds of up to 40Mbps with up to 10Mbps upstream. Openreach has confirmed it will also offer an even faster service – at roughly double these speeds – from early next month (April 2012).
FTTP, where the fibre goes directly to homes and businesses, offers speeds of up to 100Mbps, rising to up to 300Mbps from this Spring. It will also be available ‘on demand’ in areas which have been upgraded for FTTC from Spring 2013.
Both offer speeds many times faster than those currently available to most UK homes and businesses. In the most recent research unveiled by regulator Ofcom last month, the average speed of all UK broadband was 7.6Mbps.
Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment said: “Scotland’s digital action plan seeks to achieve world-class digital connectivity across Scotland. It is crucial that business providers invest in this programme and I am delighted to see further evidence of commitment in this sector with BT announcing significant investment in Scotland.
“Next generation services will play a pivotal part in growing the Scottish economy, helping businesses to thrive, bringing new employment and boosting opportunities for people of all ages. BT’s future ambitions for improved access will ensure our communities and businesses, particularly those in rural and remote areas, remain vibrant, strong and connected. This is a shared vision and I look forward to working in partnership with the industry to achieve that goal.”
Brendan Dick added: “BT’s ambition to deliver a digital future for Scotland doesn’t stop with our current commercial roll-out plans. We are pursuing opportunities to work with the public sector to extend faster broadband into more challenging areas – mainly rural, less populated locations – where a partnership approach is needed. We have the experience, infrastructure and systems in place to make it happen. Our networks are open to hundreds of service providers, bringing competition and choice for households.”
Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. The latest chart hit can be downloaded in around two seconds, a CD in 30 seconds and a feature length HD film in 10 minutes.
Upload speeds are the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds.
Faster upload speeds also boost flexible and remote working, slashing office overheads and improving employees’ work-life balance. Large graphic and video files can be sent immediately instead of being physically delivered to customers on hard disk. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers network access to service providers on an open, wholesale basis, supporting a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s super-fast broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk