The Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP), Oliver Gordon Watson Mundell representing Dumfriesshire made a visit to the local telephone exchange and fiber street cabinets to know more about Openreach’s fibre deployment and fault rectification methods. The MSP went out in the field with Openreach engineers to see the progress that’s been made with fibre broadband and customer service in Dumfries and Galloway.
Openreach Engineers updated the MSP on their plans to roll out the full-fibre services that are capable of delivering speeds up to 1Gbps. These are wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. The fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband technology in the UK can deliver up to 1Gbps, with which a subscriber can download a two hour HD movie in 25 seconds or a 45-minute HD TV programme in just five seconds.
He also heard about the challenges and benefits of rolling out more reliable, ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) in places like rural Glencaple near Dumfries, with local Openreach engineers Gareth Owens and Kevin Hodgkins explaining the differences between fibre technologies.
The MSP commented that he has been regularly contacted by constituents about broadband and the visit was useful to see the progress made by Openreach. .He added that good connectivity is absolutely vital for a strong local economy and, with around one in 10 Dumfries and Galloway households still only able to get a broadband speed of less than 10Mbps. He expressed satisfaction that he could learn the engineering work involved in building fibre connection and on the speed of work that’s been carried out by Openreach engineers.
Openreach has been working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners to expand fibre broadband beyond commercial boundaries since 2013. The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership rollout has brought fibre broadband to dozens of communities in the Dumfriesshire constituency, including Annan, Glencaple, Lochmaben, Ecclefechan, Gretna and Amisfield, and includes small deployments of FTTP in areas where it is the best technical solution.
Currently, more than 2.5 million homes and businesses in Scotland are covered by Openreach’s Fibre optic cables. The take-up ratio of fibre services across all networks stands at around 40 percent. Openreach is also starting to roll out FTTP more widely, with plans to reach three million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of 2020.
Openreach, which is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the British Telecom Group is a highly regulated business by Ofcom (Telecom regulatory authority in the UK). More than 90 percent of the revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access Openreach products under the same prices, terms, and conditions.