Up to speed on gigabit broadband build

Wendy Chamberlain MP visits Openreach digital upgrade in North East Fife

OR Wendy Chamberlain MP 02

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain met Openreach engineers to check on the latest rollout of ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband in Fife. The new, gigabit network now reaches more than 40,000 properties across the Kingdom – a £12 million1 investment so far – with 10,000 of them in her constituency. 

The MP visited the new tech being rolled out in Cupar, where 2,200 households and 100 companies now have access. She tried her hand at splicing together tiny fibres – a vital part of providing local connections – guided by fibre engineer Stuart Williamson.

Around one in four Fife households and businesses who could now make the move to the new technology has already switched. Locations like Anstruther, Kennoway and Leven are also being upgraded, with work continuing on the ground to reach thousands more homes and businesses.

In total 35 towns and villages across Fife – including Crail, Elie, Leuchars and St Andrews – will be upgraded for full fibre broadband under Openreach’s £15 billion plan to reach 25 million premises by 2026.

Wendy Chamberlain MP said: “Fast, reliable broadband is vital for the people of North East Fife, never more so than in the last couple of years. I’m pleased to see the good progress being made by Openreach, as there’s lots of evidence that gigabit broadband stimulates the economy and opens up new opportunities. This is absolutely vital with more industries and access to public services moving online.

“It’s a significant local investment, and I am pleased to see Openreach working hard to deliver a balanced fibre build throughout the constituency. I will continue to press for all areas to have equal access, even in the most rural areas of North East Fife. Superfast and, ultimately, full fibre broadband is the future, and I look forward to working with Openreach further to secure this for everyone.”

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.

Fraser Rowberry, Chief Engineer for Openreach in Scotland, said: “We welcomed the chance to show Wendy Chamberlain the challenges and realities of delivering life-changing gigabit broadband. Under our plans Fife’s famous Scotty Dog will be well connected. Nearby places like Lundin Links and Lower Largo, where we cut our teeth on rural build techniques, already have a high level of connectivity.

“We still have lots more to do, and local people might spot us at 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 97 per cent of Fife households and businesses 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.