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Openreach Blows Fibre 3km Across Scotland’s Forth Road Bridge

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 4,824
Openreach-Runs-FTTP-Across-Forth-Road-Bridge-Scotland

A team of Openreach (BT) engineers will today attempt to blow – at speeds of up to 60 metres per minute – one whole 3km stretch of 16mm fibre cable across Scotland’s Forth Road Bridge, which will enable their new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network to cover premises in South and North Queensbury.

The bridge itself, which connects Edinburgh, via the town of South Queensferry, to Fife via North Queensferry, is said to have originally opened in 1964. Back then it was often considered to be the longest suspension bridge in the world, outside the United States.

NOTE: Openreach’s gigabit fibre network has already covered 4.8 million UK premises (1.9 million were added in 2020/21), building at a rate of c.43,000 per week and now ramping up to a future peak of c.75,000 per week.

In addition to the work on the Bridge itself, which took six months of planning and saw engineers work in enclosed steel tunnels under the Bridge’s footpaths to prepare ducts for the new fibre, Openreach have also built another 2km of fibre to the north approach (this cable contains 432 tiny glass fibres – each a tenth the size of a human hair), with the new network linking back to a main fibre hub site in Inverkeithing, Fife.

All of this forms part of the operator’s wider £15bn commercial build, which aims to cover 25 million UK premises by December 2026 (here and here) – including 6.2 million in rural or semi-rural areas (Ofcom’s Area 3).

Katie Milligan, Chair of Openreach’s Scotland Board, said:

“This is a unique moment for civil engineering in Scotland as two huge infrastructure projects come together. We’re building a new ultrafast digital highway – and going across the Forth Road Bridge is the fastest, most direct way to get it done.

It’s impossible to join up spans of fibre on the Bridge, so it has to be done in one long piece. It’s amazing to think that these tiny fibres will future-proof the internet for thousands of homes and businesses on the south side of the Bridge for decades to come.

This is a once-in-a-generation engineering task to make broadband fit for the future, and we’re proud to be literally bridging the digital divide across this iconic landmark.”

We should point out that the bridge was designated a Category A listed structure in March 2001, thus access is now generally restricted to public traffic, cyclists and pedestrians following the launch of the new Queensferry Crossing in 2017 (you can see that one in the background of both pictures).

Openreach-Engineers-Near-Forth-Road-Bridge-Scotland

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Mushy Peas and Chips says:

    Didn’t know “Fifa” headquarters were in Scotland! 🙂

  2. James says:

    Wonderful to see

  3. Mick says:

    North and South Queensbury. I think boxing originated from there

  4. Chris Sayers says:

    I can’t even blow a balloon up

  5. Good news says:

    Outstanding. This is what it takes.

  6. A_Builder says:

    Whilst it is great to see the full fibre network extending all over the place I am less than sure how putting 3km in is such a big deal. That has been done before in a lot of place?

    1. Ronaldo says:

      Driving over the thing is bad enough, crawling along a small tunnel underneath the road 45 meters high with clear sight of the water underneath is another matter.

      Obviously 3k has been done thousands of times before , this job/task deserves credit, even from hero’s.

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