Thousands of premises to be given access to G.fast in 2017
Edinburgh and Glasgow businesses are set to become the first in the UK to benefit from new ultrafast broadband technology being developed by Openreach, BT’s local network division.
The two cities have been chosen as pilot locations for the new tech, which has been dubbed G.fast and provides download speeds of up to 330 Megabits per second (Mbps) – more than 10 times the UK national average.
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.
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.”
Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “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.”
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, added: “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.”
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 speedsgreater 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.
Ten million UK homes are expected to have access to G.fast by the end of 2020.