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Openreach pilots new broadband technology in remote Scottish villages

Wednesday, May 17th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Villagers in some of the most remote parts of Scotland are taking part in the first commercial pilot of a new technology that increases the speed of fibre broadband over very long phone lines.

Around 60 premises in Clachan and Whitehouse on the Kintyre peninsula and on the island of Eriskay in the Hebrides are testing Long Range VDSL connections.

Those connected to fibre infrastructure via long telephone lines tend to experience slow speeds and Openreach is looking at Long Range VDSL as an alternative to rolling out miles of expensive fibre cabling to each property.

Openreach said all eligible lines in the three locations have been migrated to the new technology and there have been positive early results with most households seeing a significant increase in speed.

The pilot follows successful trials run by Openreach on the Isle of Lewis last summer and the Scottish villages take the total number of Long Range VDSL pilot locations to six.

The technology is also being tested in the villages of Kesh and Pomeroy in Northern Ireland and Plaistow in West Sussex.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Being able to test new technologies like this in a real-life setting is a crucial step before we can deploy them on a much wider scale.

“I hope people in these three new trial locations will see real improvements in their broadband speed as they help us find an answer to the challenge of delivering faster, fibre broadband over longer lines.

'Part of the puzzle'

“I’m acutely aware of the frustration this causes for those at the end of these lines. We’re working hard to develop technology to help us fill the remaining gaps in the UK’s high-speed broadband jigsaw.

“Our trials in several rural communities in Argyll and the Hebrides could prove to be a significant part of the puzzle.”

Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director for infrastructure delivery, said: “Long Reach VDSL can potentially improve speeds for thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland and the rest of the UK – particularly those connected by long lines.

“Getting faster speeds to rural communities is one of our biggest priorities.

“We believe we can get fibre-based solutions to almost 99% of homes by the end of 2020 including the use of Long Reach VDSL and our current plans would see most homes in the final five per cent of the UK receive speeds well in excess of 10Mbps.”

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