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BT “Fibre Broadband” Expands to 150,000 Extra Premises in Scotland

Monday, November 10th, 2014 (2:48 pm) - Score 830

The £410 million Digital Scotland project has confirmed that 150,000 additional homes and businesses across the country can now gain access to BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network thanks to the state aid supported scheme, which aims to cover 85% of Scottish premises by the end of 2015 and 95% by the end of 2017.

In order to achieve this figure BTOpenreach’s engineers have had to build 300km of new sub-sea fibre optic cable and 2,400km of cable on land, not to mention the installation of around 600 new Street Cabinets in order to support their predominantly up to 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology. This all reflects match-funded development that goes beyond BT’s own separate commercial upgrades in Scotland.

Furthermore the rollout in Scotland consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the rest of Scotland. If we break the figure of 150,000 down then we find more than 30,000 premises are now passed in the Highlands and Islands, while 120,000 have been upgraded in the rest of Scotland.

Digital Scotland’s Current Funding

The Highlands and Islands (£145.8m):

• £126.4m from public bodies (Scottish Government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], Highland and Islands Enterprise and all seven local authorities that form part of the project area)
• £19.4m from BT.

The Rest of Scotland (£264m):

• £157 million from public sources (Scottish Government, ERDF, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], and all 27 local authorities that form part of the Rest of Scotland Project area)
• £106.7 from BT.

Plans to expand the deployment are also being developed, although until they’re finalised then the current coverage target of 95% is said to reflect a total of around 750,000 extra premises. However it remains unclear how many premises in that figure can expected to benefit from so-called “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds.

Liz Mallinson, BT Scotland’s Fibre Programme Director, said:

The Digital Scotland projects constitute a massive civil engineering challenge. A lot of the early work has been in planning, surveying and building central infrastructure.

So it’s really a remarkable achievement to see fibre broadband services already reaching 150,000 homes and business premises in more than 120 communities, and this is just the start for many of these locations as engineers continue work on local upgrades.

Hand in hand with our commercial rollout, it means around 1.4 million Scots can now access fibre broadband on the Openreach network. The speed at which we’ve reached today’s milestone is a testament to the commitment and determination of our engineers, who keep Scotland connected day in and day out. They’ve completed the bulk of this work in just seven months, reaching today’s milestone faster than any other broadband partnership rollout in the UK.”

End.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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