BT claims 1.5 million Scottish properties passed with fibre-to-the-cabinet

Superfast broadband roll-out in Scotland has hit another landmark in terms of homes and businesses passed, say its backers

The roll-out of fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband in Scotland has now passed more than 1.5 million homes and businesses, BT has claimed.

The total includes those properties passed through BT’s commercial fibre-to-the-cabinet deployment along with those passed under the auspices of the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnerships. This includes £126m of private investment from BT and £157.6m of public funding – £50m of which came from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot.

The Scottish government hopes to have 85% of premises in Scotland within reach of a cabinet by the end of 2016, and 95% by the end of 2018.

Scottish government deputy first minister John Swinney said the challenges of rolling out fibre infrastructure in some of the remotest areas of the UK should not be underestimated.

“We are still in the early stages of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, and without it thousands of Scottish homes and businesses simply wouldn’t have had access to high-speed technology," he said.

“It’s a fundamental part of the Scottish government’s aim to deliver world-class connectivity by 2020, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, any where, using any device.”

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BT said Openreach was currently passing 10,000 properties a week in Scotland, and had so far laid 4,500km of cable connecting 4,700 cabinets.

Besides the easy-to-reach central belt and urban parts of Scotland, the state-aided roll-out has been tackling places such as the Orkney and Shetland Islands, Eilean Siar, and a number of other offshore islands. To date, it has laid more than 300km of subsea cable and hit more than 220,000 properties.

Digital Scotland comprises two separate projects, one led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including Arran, Islay and Jura, and the other covering the rest of the mainland.

BT Scotland director Brendan Dick said access to secure, high-speed communications will drive economic propsperity in the country.

“It’s vital that people embrace the digital revolution and make the most of the new infrastructure," he said. "Together with our partners, we will continue to work to meet Scotland’s ambition of delivering world-class connectivity.”

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