Galloway MSP connects with high-speed broadband

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson yesterday (Monday) visited Openreach engineers at the site of one of his constituency’s first new ultrafast broadband networks.

The MSP heard about the next generation of broadband technology – future-proof, ‘full fibre’ services capable of carrying speeds up to 1Gbps* – and how engineers are using innovative new techniques to bring more reliable, faster broadband to rural communities.

He visited a small deployment of full fibre in Auchencairn to see how the new technology – which lets surfers download HD movies in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea – is built. He also saw the inner workings of a superfast street cabinet near his constituency office in Castle Douglas.

According to the independent website Think Broadband, around 85 per cent of premises in Dumfries and Galloway are now able to connect to broadband at a speed of 30Mbps and above.

Mr Carson said: “Broadband is a hot topic for people, so it’s been useful to see today at first hand what’s coming down the line. The UK is in the early stages of a move from old copper cables to ultrafast fibre and we’re ambitious for a swift rollout.

“Good connectivity is absolutely vital for a thriving local economy and provides people with new opportunities to live and work in more rural parts of Scotland. There’s still plenty of work to do, and I will continue to push for better broadband for every local home and business.”

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 brought faster broadband to 58,000 premises in dozens of Dumfries and Galloway communities and includes small deployments of full fibre in areas where it’s the best technical solution.

The visit was hosted by Vicky Macadam, Openreach’s senior manager for public affairs in Scotland, who said: “We know good, reliable broadband is really important to local people. We’re working hard on all fronts – independently and with partners – to give Dumfries and Galloway the connectivity it needs. We welcome the opportunity to share the benefits and challenges as our engineers continue work on the ground.”

Openreach’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps*, currently passes more than 2.6 million homes and business premises in Scotland. The digital network business has also ramped up plans for FTTP, aiming to reach four million homes and businesses across the UK by March 2021, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond.


*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.