Openreach hits one million milestone for ultrafast broadband connections
Broadband giant Openreach has connected one million homes and businesses in Scotland to its ultrafast fibre network.
The telecoms firm announced the milestone today as it revealed the 20 locations with the most ultrafast broadband coverage in the country.
Lundin Links, Fife, topped the list with more than nine out of 10 properties able to upgrade to ultrafast broadband.
Tranent, on the other side of the Forth, is a fraction behind and the West Lothian village of Fauldhouse is third.
Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast, Aviemore in Highland and Findhorn in Moray all make the top 20.
While cities are often perceived to have the best coverage, small towns dominate Openreach’s list of hotspots with the highest levels of fibre.
In Glasgow, the build has now passed 125,000 properties, while in Aberdeen engineers have reused the city’s old cable TV network from the 1980s to speed up the rollout.
Openreach has invested more than £300 million in Scotland’s new network so far. Just 360,000 households and businesses out of a possible million have upgraded to the faster, ultra-reliable services.
Katie Milligan, chair of the Openreach Scotland Board, said: “Scots use roughly 100 million Gigabytes of data on our network each week – equivalent to every single person in the country watching a full HD movie every day – and data consumption is rising every single year.
“That’s why our investment in the new fibre network is so important. Using tiny glass threads thinner than human hairs, it will meet data demands decades into the future.
“This digital upgrade is a massive deal for Scotland. Transformative connectivity helps make communities sustainable – people can stay local and take full advantage of online opportunities.
“It’s brilliant to reach one million homes and businesses, and a huge thank you must go to our engineers and build partners who’ve helped make it happen. But we’re not stopping there.”
Work is continuing on the ground in places like Annan, Fraserburgh, Kirkcaldy and Greenock, as well as in Edinburgh, Glasgow and dozens of other cities, towns and villages.
People can visit openreach.co.uk/ultrafastfullfibre to register for updates and check their postcode to see if and when services are available from their chosen provider.
Openreach is also working with the Scottish and UK governments, through the Reaching 100% (R100) programme and voucher schemes, to take fibre to Scotland’s most rural areas and hardest-to-reach properties.
Upgrades are currently ongoing from the shores of Loch Leven to island communities like Lismore and Jura, with R100 build due to start in places like Pitcaple in Aberdeenshire, Hillside in Angus, Ballachulish and Cromarty in Highland and Birsay in Orkney soon.
Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government innovation minister, said: “This is an important milestone in the drive to ensure more homes and businesses across Scotland benefit from full fibre broadband, improving vital connectivity.
“We are working with Openreach to roll-out future-proofed digital infrastructure to our rural towns and villages and this Reaching 100% build, alongside Openreach’s commercial network, will underpin economic growth and enhance communities across Scotland for decades to come.”
Sir John Whittingdale, UK Government minister for data and digital infrastructure, said: “Thanks to UK government investment, thousands of rural homes, businesses and public buildings across Scotland now have access to first class broadband fit for the future.
“Over three quarters of premises across the UK can now access these faster speeds and with more collaboration with network builders like Openreach at a local and national level, we will see even more rural towns and villages staking their claim to this next-generation connectivity.”
The Openreach network offers the widest choice of providers, such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen, which means people have lots of choice and can shop for the best deals.