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Fibre broadband in Scottish town is ‘important step’ in superfast rollout

Thursday, July 16th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

More than 3,200 homes and businesses in a West Lothian town can now get high-speed fibre broadband, BT has announced.

The number of premises in Whitburn with access to fibre could even increase as Openreach engineers complete the upgrade to the area.

The investment has been welcomed by the local council.

Councillor Cathy Muldoon, West Lothian Council’s executive councillor for development and transport, said: “Superfast fibre broadband in Whitburn offers huge benefits to local residents and businesses and will help our local economy to flourish.

“Better, faster communications help businesses to grow and stimulate job creation.

“As well as this commercial investment by BT, West Lothian Council has invested an additional £2.5m in the Superfast Scotland programme to ensure that West Lothian has one of the highest levels of superfast broadband coverage in the UK by 2017.”

She said the arrival of fibre means local people and businesses can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband in Whitburn is another important step in our rollout of this exciting technology.

“More than 22m homes and businesses across the UK now have access to fibre broadband using Openreach’s new fibre network via a range of broadband service providers, bringing speed and choice to the UK.

'Out of reach'

“Across the West Lothian area, which includes Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn, Livingston Bridge, Livingston Station and Midcalder, more than 46,000 households and businesses already have access to fibre broadband.

“This figure will rise to 47,000 as BT continues to deploy its commercial rollout.”

The technology not only helps consumers do things like shopping, downloading music and video, watch TV, social network, or study, but also has “huge potential” for local businesses, he said.

BT Openreach’s fibre broadband network is now available to around three-quarters of UK premises from a variety of service providers.

In Scotland, BT is investing around £126m in fibre broadband partnerships with the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, the European Regional Development Fund and Scotland’s local authorities.

The telecoms giant is delivering the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which aims to provide fibre broadband infrastructure to parts of Scotland not included in commercial providers’ plans and now passes around 350,000 Scottish homes and businesses.

Earlier this week, Cable.co.uk reported how engineers had overcome a major technical challenge to bring high-speed broadband to thousands of Scottish homes once thought to be “out of reach”.

The 60,000 homes and businesses in more than 130 locations across Scotland were served by ‘exchange only’ lines, which run directly from the telephone exchange to the premises, bypassing the usual roadside cabinets used by the fibre rollout.

To upgrade them to fibre broadband as part of the Digital Scotland superfast broadband rollout, engineers from BT Openreach had to rearrange the existing network and lay hundreds of metres of new cable to reroute the lines through dozens of extra roadside cabinets.

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