Government-backed upgrade takes fibre broadband to Scottish towns and villages

Scottish Government is working alongside telecoms firm Openreach to supply regions across the country with new and speedier internet infrastructure – which has now been deployed to 28 new locations

Full-fibre broadband is heading to 28 suburbs, towns, and villages across Scotland as part of broadband upgrade plans supported by the Scottish Government and delivered by Openreach.

People from Port Glasgow in Inverclyde, Possil in Glasgow, Wester Hailes in Edinburgh, Grantown-on-Spey in the Highlands, Scone in Perth and Kinross, and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull are among the those that will benefit from the expansion. Several new locations in Fife and South Lanarkshire will have their service upgraded, Openreach said, while more areas in Aberdeen and Dundee are also to be included in the plans.

This latest rollout will allow 120,000 people and businesses across Scotland to access some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK, it is claimed. As of December, around half of all Scottish homes could access full-fibre, according to Ofcom figures – a boost of 10 per cent compared to the year prior.

Currently, 1.2 million homes and businesses across Scotland already have access to the network of Openreach – which is owned by BT.

Tom Arthur, Scottish Government employment minister, said: “Digital infrastructure is a key enabler to support economic growth right across Scotland. It’s why the Scottish Government is making record investments in broadband infrastructure this year, and we will continue to work alongside Openreach and other partners to continue improving and extending our digital network to benefit communities and businesses across the country.”

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Openreach is a signatory of Scotland’s full fibre charter. Launched in 2020, the charter outlined several operator and government pledges to extend full fibre broadband access across the country.

The telecom firm said the rollout is the latest part of a £15bn initiative to upgrade the UK’s broadband infrastructure, which aims to make gigabit-capable technology available to 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026, including 6.2 million in harder-to-reach, more remote and rural areas.

Elsewhere in the UK, Openreach plans to bring full-fibre broadband to almost 520 new locations, covering a further 2.7 million homes and businesses.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for Scotland, said: “Our rollout of full-fibre broadband is a huge infrastructure success story. As far as we know, no company is building faster or further in Europe. We won’t be stopping any time soon. We now plan to build even further across Scotland to more city locations, towns and our most rural communities. Our engineers are working at a rapid pace despite the huge complexities of an engineering project on this scale, stretching from Shetland to Stranraer.”

A version of this story originally appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood

Sofia Villegas

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