Ultrafast broadband reaches 20,000 Kilmarnock homes

East Ayrshire Council welcomes Openreach investment in gigabit-capable digital network

Openreach today announced that more than 20,000 homes and businesses in and around Kilmarnock can now access some of the fastest, most reliable broadband anywhere in the UK.

As designated key workers, Openreach engineers have continued to build the town’s new gigabit-capable network throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It uses the latest full fibre broadband technology – where fibre optic cables are laid all the way from a local telephone exchange direct to people’s houses.

The new technology is now live in locations across Kilmarnock and local communities including Kilmaurs, Crosshouse and Knockentiber, with the majority of local homes and businesses now able to upgrade.

Katie Milligan, Openreach managing director (Customer, Commercial & Propositions), said: “As well as keeping the existing network running, we’ve continued building full fibre throughout the pandemic to make sure that, no matter what happens next, our network is there to support local families and businesses.

“We’ve made great progress in Kilmarnock, with 20,000 households now able to order an ultra-reliable, gigabit-capable service. The first customers have already connected and I’d urge everyone to check their options for upgrading now.

“Our investment will boost local businesses, support Kilmarnock’s economy and be brilliant for households juggling work and home life. We’re working hard to extend our build to as many local premises as possible and engineers will continue work in the town over the next few months.”

Full fibre technology provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity; meaning fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies. Local people can visit the Openreach website to check if they can upgrade.

Openreach has announced plans to build full fibre networks in 23 other Ayrshire towns and villages, including Auchinleck, Cumnock, Dalmellington, Gaston, Holmhead, Netherthird and Stewarton.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “Kilmarnock is leading the way for ultrafast, future-proof, full fibre broadband, with almost 20,000 homes and businesses in the local area now able to upgrade.

“Due to the pandemic, many of our residents are working from home. Access to faster, reliable broadband is essential to ensure that vital services continue to be delivered to communities and that local people can access essential services and items online.

“I look forward to more positive news as the build continues and to working with local communities to explore how we can make the most of East Ayrshire’s new, resilient technology.”

Recent research shows that connecting everyone in Scotland to full fibre broadband by 2025 would create a £4.55 billion boost to the nation’s economy, unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next generation of home-grown businesses.

This short video explains what full fibre technology is and you can find out more about our Fibre First programme here.

Ten fantastic full fibre facts:

  1. Connecting everyone in Scotland to ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £4.55 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) – that’s 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, old TVs and even bad weather! 
  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.