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GBP20m Boost Fuels Lothian Broadband’s FTTP Rollout in Scotland

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 (3:35 pm) - Score 1,824
Lothian-Broadband-FTTP-Street-Dig

ISP Lothian Broadband, which last year proposed to extend their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to cover 50,000 premises across rural parts of East and Mid Lothian, has secured a major funding boost of £20m from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) and their rollout target has been raised to 70,000 premises.

Until relatively recently, the provider was predominantly still a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) provider for remote homes within their region, but that changed in 2020 after they began to extend their initial deployment of a new full fibre network to cater for the East Lothian village of Gifford (here).

The provider later revealed their intention to target 50,000 premises (mostly those already covered by their existing wireless network) across the so-called “fibre gap” of Scotland’s small towns, rural and semi-rural communities.

Since then, they’ve also expanded into the East Lothian village of Pencaitland, but we’ve heard precious little on their plans for a wider rollout, until now. According to the SNIB, which has pledged to pump £20m into the provider (on top of £5m from existing shareholders), the goal is to invest £75m to cover over 70,000 premises in rural communities and small towns within the next 4 years (i.e. by the end of 2026).

NOTE: Lothian is being supported in some of their deployments by build partner, Diona.

SNIB Statement (Herald Scotland):

“LBG is already investing to deliver full-fibre broadband across East Lothian. Today’s announcement signals an expansion of LBG’s geographic ambitions, with funding now secured to drive further operational scale-up and rapidly accelerate fibre deployment in 2022.

Digital inequality has been heightened during the pandemic, and the Bank will be supporting a strong and experienced management team to roll out a future-proofed broadband network to tens of thousands of households and businesses who would otherwise be waiting years before receiving a gigabit-capable broadband service.”

Gavin Rodgers, Lothian Broadband, said:

“The backing of the Scottish National Investment Bank enables us to continue our rapid scale-up as we establish the leading fibre-to-the-premise deployment platform for rural communities and small towns across Scotland.”

Customers of their new unlimited full fibre service typically pay from £29.99 per month on a short 12-month term for symmetric speeds of 100Mbps, which rises to £59.99 for their top 900Mbps plan.

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5 Responses
  1. Jonathan says:

    I would imagine that they are keeping tight lipped as they don’t want to tip Openreach off so they then go an announce they are going to do an exchange commercially so the Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme vouchers don’t disappear in a puff of smoke. Conveniently did that to Factco in Northumberland. So my sister instead of getting full fibre by now they are now waiting on Openreach who might do it sometime in the future. Fortunately for her she gets a decent VDSL connection lots of people on the exchange don’t.

    On that vein I have signed a contract with “GoFibre” for a connection hopefully later in the year, but I am not going to say exactly where till I have a working connection 🙂 I will say however it is rural(*) and outside the borders. My only comment so far is there upload speeds rather suck but I can go faster than my current full 80/20 I get from Openreach who did the village/town with g.Fast a while back, but I estimate less than 20% of people can actually get g.Fast, what Openreach where thinking off beats the hell out of me. Then again it required BDUK funding to put a PCP for all the exchange only lines in the exchange grounds with a large Huawei cabinet that has subsequently had a twin added. I hope Openreach had to pay every last single penny back on that. Openreach are either totally incompetent or as truthful as de Pfeffel. Neither of which choices reflects well on them.

    * rural as in meets the criteria for rural as dreamed up by a bunch of civil servants in London who would probably have a brain seizure if they actually had to stay anywhere that I would regard as rural. I don’t consider my house as being rural. In the countryside yes, rural you have to be city dweller to think that.

    1. Declan M says:

      I think this is a bit pointless as Openreach have the vast majority of East Lothian and the Dalkeith, Ford and Penicuik exchanges under there plans by 2025 so it seems a bit pointless to me

    2. Fastman says:

      jonathan

      what complete and utter twaddle

      would imagine that they are keeping tight lipped as they don’t want to tip Openreach off so they then go an announce they are going to do an exchange commercially so the Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme vouchers don’t disappear in a puff of smoke

    3. Fastman says:

      Johnathat

      openreach would have done what was requested as part of the intervention area defined by the contract it would have signed with BDUK (its called contact compliance) — if you got a beef take it up with the scottish government who defined the intervention area and then agreed what premises would be covered

  2. Jonathan says:

    @Fastman so you are saying when the local councillor talked to Openreach about the exchange for my sister where frankly take up of FTTP would be high. There are a lot of properties that don’t get good speeds and when you are living in a £1m pound house in the north east of England you can afford FTTP as was told nah no plans not commercially viable. They then did a lot of leg work to get Factco interested and magically in the next tranche of exchanges it gets listed by Openreach as being in plan for some indeterminate date in the future though this “may” change. If you think that is some sort of coincident then I have a bridge with only a few snapped cables and brand new truss end links to sell you.

    The alternative explanation is that it costs Openreach nothing to announce that they are going to do FTTP on an exchange. That means there are then no Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme vouchers available for the properties that would have been covered and it is likely that the altnet will then pull out if they where relying on those vouchers to cover part of the cost. In effect it means that Openreach can stifle competition at zero cost to themselves and of course they can down the line in several years change there mind.

    Given that there has been quite a few areas where this has happened, if I where an altnet, I would be keeping my plans under wraps so Openreach don’t come and scupper them. Consequently I am not going to mention where I live because I don’t want to run the risk of GoFibre pulling out. However I will say it’s not anywhere in Lothian or the Borders or on Openreach’s commercial rollout plans. It’s also not covered by R100 either because I consistently get 79999/19999 download/upload speeds.

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