Ultrafast broadband for new homes in Galashiels

South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne yesterday (Monday) visited Openreach engineers working on an installation of ultrafast broadband technology for new homes in Galashiels.

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.

She visited a full fibre network serving around 140 homes in Gala’s Knoll Park 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 directly into properties.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP said: “Broadband is a hot topic for local 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 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 in South Scotland, 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 more than 170,000 premises across the South Scotland electoral region and includes many small deployments of full fibre in areas where it’s the best technical solution.

The visit was hosted by Brendan Dick, chair of the Openreach Board 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 South Scotland the connectivity it needs.

“Much of the area is very rural, which makes it more challenging, but there has been good progress. It was great to have the chance to show Michelle Ballantyne what’s coming next to keep her constituents connected, and outline 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.


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.