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Openreach starts rolling out ultrafast fibre broadband in Edinburgh

Monday, May 21st 2018 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Openreach has started the process of rolling out ultrafast broadband in Edinburgh and has announced a £400,000 investment in the training of new engineers.

Edinburgh will become the first city in Scotland to benefit from the widespread rollout of fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband by Openreach, with work already underway in the Corstophine and Newington areas of the capital.

This differs from previous rollouts because the fibre cables run all the way from the core network to individual homes and businesses. Previous fibre rollouts have used fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, which sees fibre installed as far as those green cabinets you see in the street, with the last part of the journey relying on traditional copper telephone lines.

The introduction of FTTP will allow broadband providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk to offer speeds up to 1Gbps over the new network – around 24 times the UK’s current average speed.

Openreach’s rollout will take in the Murrayfield, Abbeyhill and western Dalry areas of Edinburgh next, and a total of three million premises across eight UK cities by the end of 2020.

'Digital ambitions'

About 8,000 homes and businesses in Scotland – including some in Altnaharra in Sutherland and Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders – already have some access to FTTP broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

As well as future-proofing Scotland’s digital infrastructure, Openreach has also been investing in the next generation of engineers – pumping £400,000 into a new fibre training school at Openreach’s national training school in Livingston.

The company has created 400 new trainee engineering roles in Scotland, with around 40 of the new recruits being hired to work directly on the FTTP rollout in Edinburgh. Openreach said about 1,700 trainees are expected to pass through the new fibre school in 2018/19.

Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, said educating digital engineers is “absolutely vital to ensuring we meet our digital ambitions” and underpins the national fibre rollout.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley added: “We’re confident that our investment in people and networks across Scotland have a big role to play in the country’s future economic success.”

Indoor and outdoor simulations at the fibre school will allow trainees to get acquainted with duct pipes, cabinets and telegraph poles while honing their skills on a live fibre network.

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