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Edinburgh and Glasgow to lead the way as Openreach announces first Scottish locations for ultrafast broadband pilots

Press Release   •   Dec 13, 2016 10:00 GMT

An Openreach engineer works on a connection during technical trials.

People living in Edinburgh and Glasgow will be among the first in the UK to benefit from the new ultrafast broadband technology being developed by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

The company recently announced the two Scottish cities as pilot locations for its new ultrafast technology, known as G.fast, which provides download speeds of up to 330 Megabits per second (Mbps) – more than 10 times the UK national average.

Openreach plans to make G.fast available to 10 million UK homes by the end of 2020, and news of the two pilots has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and business leaders in the two cities.

Thousands of premises in Edinburgh and Glasgow will be given access to the technology during 2017 with details about exactly where and when to be published shortly. Several communication providers are already involved in the pilots with Openreach.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Government Cabinet Minister for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “We want Scotland to become a world class digital nation. A key part of this is future-proofing our digital infrastructure and that is why we have committed to providing superfast broadband to 100% of premises in Scotland by 2021.

“Commercial investment will play a huge part in delivering this commitment, and I welcome BT’s announcement that Edinburgh and Glasgow will be among the first in the UK to benefit from new ultrafast broadband technology.”

The G.fast technology, which makes use of existing copper wires, can provide up to 330Mbps throughput, providing a basis for many new services and considerable economic benefits.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “It’s great news that parts of Edinburgh and Glasgow will be among the first locations to get ultrafast speeds using G.fast technology in the UK.

“More people will now be able to enjoy an affordable ultrafast service, in the fastest possible time. Through co-operation from both local and national government we’ve been able to make this possible.

“Scotland already leads the way when it comes to superfast broadband. Nearly nine out of ten homes and businesses already have access to superfast speeds with thousandsmore premises being enabled each week, and we’re working hard to reach the rest, as well as starting to roll out ultrafast speeds.”

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We warmly welcome this announcement given how important an asset speedy broadband is to the business community.

“Glasgow’s digital infrastructure is integral to the daily operations of the majority of companies within the city and regularly raised by our membership as a key priority.I look forward to following the development of this project and hope the pilots go well.”

Liz McAreavey, chief executive of EdinburghChamber of Commerce, added: “Businesses will welcome the access to ultrafast broadband. With a strong creative and digital business sector based in Edinburgh, this upgrade will be critical for competing in the global arena. This is very good news for Edinburgh.”

Following successful technical trials in Swansea (along with Huntingdon and Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle) Openreach has announced a total of 17 pilot areas to reach around 140,000 homes and businesses in 2017 with ultrafast speeds greater than 100Mbps.

The company has already made fibre broadband available to more than two million homes and businesses across Scotland, through a combination of its investment and partnerships with government.

Across the UK, more homes and businesses are now using superfast broadband than in Germany, France, Italy or Spain, and the UK outperforms the EU’s five largest economies on measures such as availability, speeds and take-up according to Ofcom[1].

You can find out more about G.fast at www.openreach.co.uk/ultrafast.

Notes to Editors

[1] **Ofcom’s European Broadband Scorecard shows the UK is ranked as leader of the five major EU economies – the others being France, Germany, Italy and Spain - on a range of independent broadband measures.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

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About Openreach

Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.