Martyn Day MP gets up to speed on broadband

Local MP visits Openreach gigabit upgrade in Bathgate

Openreach Martyn Day MP 02

Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Martyn Day recently joined Openreach engineers to check on the local rollout of ultrafast broadband. The new, gigabit network now reaches nearly 50,000 properties across West Lothian and Falkirk, 20,000 of them in his constituency. 

The full fibre build in West Lothian has now passed 38,000 properties, including 1,500 businesses, with one in three upgrading to the ultra-reliable new technology. In Falkirk, around 10,000 premises can now connect to the new gigabit network, and two in five have switched.

Martyn Day visited the new tech being rolled out in Bathgate, where 2,000 households and companies now have access, while in Whitburn the build has reached 18,000. Locations like Armadale and Linlithgow are also benefitting, with work continuing on the ground to reach thousands more homes and businesses. The MP watched as Whitburn engineer Mikaela Burns expertly spliced tiny fibres together – a vital part of providing local connections.

In total 16 towns and villages in West Lothian and five in Falkirk will be upgraded for full fibre broadband under Openreach’s £15 billion plan to reach 25 million premises by 2026.

Martyn Day MP said: “I’m pleased to see the progress being made by Openreach to deliver full fibre in my constituency. I’m keen for local people to be able to reap the full benefits of fast, robust broadband, which has been even more vital in the last two years.

“This significant local investment is great news for people living and working in Linlithgow and East Falkirk and I recognise that Openreach is delivering a balanced fibre build which benefits both urban and rural areas.

”The area already has a high percentage of superfast broadband coverage, but full fibre is the future. So it’s good to see strong demand for these new services, with more than a third of local people already upgrading to the new network where it’s available.”

Full fibre broadband offers download speeds of one gigabit per second (1Gbps), which means it’s up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection, bringing faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming.

It’s also less affected by peak time congestion, which means people can use multiple devices simultaneously, even at peak times in the evening, without the connection slowing down. That means more people can get online at the same time without experiencing stuttering, buffering or dropouts.

Robert Thorburn, partnership director for Openreach in Scotland, said: “We welcomed the opportunity to show our latest progress and share the challenges and realities of delivering life-changing digital infrastructure. Research shows it can supercharge productivity and create new employment opportunities.

“Local people may spot an increase in Openreach activity as we continue work on the ground. We try hard to keep any disruption to a minimum by reusing our existing network where possible, but it’s not always straightforward. Occasionally we need to put up new poles or carry out roadworks safely, but the resulting benefits our network brings will be huge, varied and long-term for local people.”

Openreach operates Scotland’s largest broadband network, used by customers of companies like  BT, SkyTalkTalkVodafone and Zen. Around 96 per cent of households in West Lothian and 88 per cent in Falkirk can already access a superfast service at 30Mbps or more through its network.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) estimates that connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre would create a £4.5 billion boost to the economy. You can find out more about the Full Fibre build programme and check what’s available at your address here.

Pictured with Martyn Day MP (L-R) are Openreach Scotland’s local fibre engineer Mikaela Burns from Whitburn and (cover photo) Robert Thorburn, partnership director; and Stuart McMillan, head of fibre service delivery.