Ultrafast broadband now live in Peebles

Residents welcome “transformative” arrival of ultra-reliable gigabit broadband in Peebles and Glentress

Keeping the UK connected

Thousands of people living and working in Peebles and Glentress are now able to connect to some of the fastest and most reliable broadband in the UK.

Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network - has been building a new ultra-reliable, gigabit-capable full fibre broadband as part of its plan to reach rural towns and villages.

More than 80 per cent of the households and businesses across Peebles – or 3,600 households and businesses – can now connect, with work still ongoing.

Residents and businesses in Glentress worked alongside engineers to dig in 26km of cable across fields, enabling Openreach to extend the build several miles to their community.

Openreach has also completed its commercial full fibre build in Kelso, reaching around 3,400 premises, and has pledged to bring the technology to Hawick, Galashiels, Maxwellheugh, Selkirk, Sprouston and Tweedbank, with work starting in Galashiels next, this Autumn.

Ian Porter, Openreach’s chief engineer for the South of Scotland, said: “We set out to bring full fibre broadband to as much of Peebles as possible, and we’ve made really good progress.

Copper has served us well for the last 100 years but it’s coming to the end of its working life. Local people here in the Borders can now be among the first in the UK to make the move to a fully fibre-optic network.

It was brilliant that people in Glentress rolled up their sleeves to work with us, it meant the economics stacked up and they were not left behind. Demand for services in Glentress has been spectacular, with almost everyone already opting for an upgrade to make the most of their new high-speed network.

“Full fibre is the next generation of internet technology and this latest upgrade will transform people’s internet experience. Residents can check online to see if they’re now able to upgrade and should contact their service providers to find out about switching.”

Glentress resident Stewart Maguire said: “With two of us working from home during the pandemic and my two sons doing home schooling lessons on their iPads, we desperately needed high-quality and reliable broadband.

“Now that Openreach has installed fibre we’re on full gigabit and it’s night and day with how things were before – we can easily balance multiple conference calls and gaming updates at the same time.

“The Openreach team were brilliant, kept the community updated throughout and catered to the requests of each of the 30 or so houses on the hill side. We’re really delighted with the installation. Transformative doesn’t even start to cover it.”

Future-proof full fibre broadband is capable of carrying speeds up to 1Gbps* - around 15 times faster than the UK’s current average - bringing more reliable, ultrafast broadband services to communities.

Openreach is building gigabit-capable1, future-proof full fibre broadband networks in more than 90 Scottish cities, towns and villages as part of a £12bn plan to reach up to 20 million UK premises by the mid-to-late 2020s, with hundreds of thousands of residents already able to upgrade.

Ten full fibre broadband facts:

  1. Connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre broadband by 2025 would create a £4.5 billion boost to the nation’s economy.
  2. Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.
  3. A single strand of fibre can provide enough capacity to serve up to 32 individual properties with Gigabit speeds.
  4. Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabyte virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half an hour.
  5. More people getting online at the same time is easier too – a family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4k quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.
  6. Full fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A full fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences, bad weather and even old TVs! One recent report stated ‘that ‘full fibre’ is 70%-80% more reliable than copper resulting in lower fault rates.’
  7. A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 120 miles without any real loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around one mile.
  8. Full fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. Research suggests fibering up the whole of the UK could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.
  9. Full fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.
  10. Full fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting plans to give NHS patients access to ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come hospital can get a video consultation with their doctor. It can also allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds. For example, medical staff can download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.

Photos: Images show engineers at work building the new full fibre network in Peebles and Glentress.