North East MP get up to speed on gigabit broadband build

By bellmannews / June 8, 2022

From Openreach –

North East MPs Andrew Bowie and David Duguid met Openreach engineers this week to check on the latest rollout of ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband in the region.

They were given a tour of the work in Stonehaven, along with an update on the Aberdeenshire build. It has now reached more than 23,000 properties, meaning full fibre is available to around one in five homes and businesses. Around one in three of those passed by the new gigabit network has already upgraded.

In Stonehaven, nearly half of local business and households can now connect to the new network. Take-up of the new services available is above average, and 38 per cent in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency.

Openreach operates Scotland’s largest broadband network, used by customers of companies like BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen. Around 85 per cent of households in Aberdeenshire can access a superfast service at 30Mbps or more through its network.

Andrew Bowie MP said: “I’m pleased to see the progress being made by Openreach and hear about their wider plans to deliver full fibre to our rural towns. I’ve been campaigning for years for local people to be able to reap the full benefits of better broadband, and to make sure our harder-to-reach communities are connected. There is still a long way to go but if you are among the one in five now able to upgrade, you may be pleasantly surprised by the benefits of a gigabit-capable internet connection.”

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 during 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.

The visit was hosted by Fraser Rowberry, Director of Fibre Operations in Scotland.

Fraser Rowberry said: “We welcomed the opportunity to show our latest progress and share the challenges and realities of delivering this life-changing digital infrastructure. We’re very excited about what full fibre can do for Aberdeenshire. Research shows rolling it out can supercharge productivity and create new employment opportunities.

“Local people in many Aberdeenshire communities may spot an increase in Openreach activity as we continue 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 across the community.”

Openreach’s £15 billion fibre investment aims to reach 25 million premises by December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom. More than 7.2 million homes and business can now order a service over the new network, including 620,000 across Scotland so far.

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, latest availability and local plans here.