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Openreach roadband roll-out will help Moray communities connect more quickly

By Calum MacLeod

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Openreach is expected to create 7000 new engineering traineeships to meet the dmand of the fullfibre roll out.
Openreach is expected to create 7000 new engineering traineeships to meet the dmand of the fullfibre roll out.

Communities across Moray can look forward to receiving better broadband under the latest roll out plans unveiled by Openreach today.

Hopeman, Fochabers, Keith, Dufftown, Rothes and Cullen are among the towns earmarked for exchange upgrades over the next five years enabling the provision of ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband.

Island communities like Portree, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Lerwick are also included in the plan, which will connect 300,000 homes and businesses Scotland-wide.

The updated build plan follows an extended investment commitment by Openreach parent, BT Group to bring full fibre technology to a total of 25 million UK premises, including an additional three million in the hardest-to-serve communities.

It also means fewer homes and businesses will require taxpayer subsidies to upgrade.

Scotland's economy secretary, and Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP, Kate Forbes said: “The rollout of ultrafast broadband to so many more rural communities is vitally important, especially as we focus on recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Continued commercial build is an important part of the Reaching 100% Programme’s aim to provide access to superfast speeds for all premises. This focus on rural and hard-to-reach areas is exactly what I want to see and I look forward to hearing that these 60,000 addresses are connected.”

Openreach expects to bring fullfibre broadband to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.
Openreach expects to bring fullfibre broadband to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s strategic infrastructure director, said: “Building a new broadband network across Scotland is a massive challenge and some parts of the country will inevitably require further public funding. But our expanded build plan means any future taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“The impact of full fibre broadband - stretching from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness to higher employment and environmental benefits – will be a massive boost for Scotland and the rest of the UK. We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating more Scottish jobs, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers.

“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses. In the meantime, people can also check what’s already available – which includes around 400,000 homes and businesses across Scotland that can already access full fibre on the Openreach network.”

Openreach has already made the technology available to more than 4.7 million homes and business. With download speeds of 1 Gbps, it is up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection, enabling faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming.

Households can use multiple devices at once without experiencing slowdown – so more people can get online at once. Full fibre is also less affected by peak time congestion – so users can enjoy their Saturday night blockbuster in 4K without the dreaded buffering screen.

Openreach is using a range of innovations and techniques to deliver the build, whilst a major investment in its Scottish training centre in Livingston is helping to skill thousands of new engineers. Openreach Scotland has a workforce of around 3200 people.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2500 jobs announced in December 2020 – of which 275 were in Scotland. This means that by the end of 2021, Openreach will have created and filled more than 9000 apprenticeship roles since 2017/18.

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