Fife MSP connects with ultrafast broadband

Willie Rennie MSP this week visited Openreach engineers to hear about how they’ve built one of the Kingdom’s first ultrafast broadband networks in Luthrie.

The North East Fife MSP was shown engineering techniques and new equipment used to build a ‘full fibre’ network directly to the local properties. The future-proof, reliable services can carry speeds up to 1Gbps1 – around 18.5 times faster than the UK’s current average.

He also got an update on superfast services locally as he saw the inner workings of a Cupar fibre street cabinet. Superfast services make use of street cabinets (known as Fibre-to-the-Cabinet or FTTC).

According to the independent website Think Broadband, more than 96 per cent of premises in Fife are now able to connect to broadband at a superfast speed of 30Mbps and above.

Willie Rennie MSP said: “We’re at the start of a move to a full-fibre future as the old copper telecoms network gradually comes to the end of its working life. It was useful to see how engineers go about installing this new, more resilient technology where the fibre runs directly to people’s homes.

“I welcome Openreach’s commitment to building more full fibre for Scotland in the months and years ahead. While there’s more work to do to make sure everyone has reliable internet access, I’d encourage local people to check if they can already upgrade to a better service, because it isn’t automatic.”

As well as its commercial investment in upgrades, Openreach has been working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners since 2013 to bring fibre-based broadband to communities which were not included in any upgrade plans by private companies.

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership rollout has reached nearly 60,000 Fife households and businesses, around half of which are in Mr Rennie’s North East Fife constituency, and includes small deployments of full fibre like the one in Luthrie.

James Carsley, Openreach’s fibre network programme director for Scotland, who hosted the visit, said: “We know good, reliable broadband is really important to local people and we’re working hard on all fronts to give the Kingdom the connectivity it needs for the future.

“Fife now has a very extensive superfast network but there’s still more to do. Only Openreach has the experience, skills and local workforce needed to deliver an open, future-ready digital network for all of Scotland.”

Openreach’s FTTC footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps*, currently passes around 2.6 million homes and business premises in Scotland. It’s also starting to roll out FTTP more widely, with plans to reach four million homes and businesses across the UK by March 2021, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond.

Notes to editors

*These are wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. FTTP is capable of delivering the fastest residential broadband speeds in the UK – up to 1Gbps – fast enough to download a two hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.

All news releases can be accessed on our web site.