MSP briefed on fibre broadband progress

CHECKING progress in rolling out high-speed fibre broadband, MSP Oliver Mundell this month joined Openreach engineers at work in his Dumfriesshire constituency.


He was keen for an update and to witness fieldwork on the network as broadband and telephone connectivity issues are frequently raised with him by constituents.


The MSP learned about the extension to more areas of full-fibre services capable of carrying speeds of up to 1Gbps -- wholesale speeds available to customers with appropriate contracts with their service provider.


Oliver's tour included a visit to Dumfries telephone exchange and a local fibre street cabinet where he learned how engineers worked to identify and fix faults often before they affected services.


He also learned about the challenges and benefits of rolling out more reliable, ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) in urban and rural areas.


In his constituency, locations with improved services, included Annan, Dumfries, Glencaple, Lochmaben, Ecclefechan, Gretna, Amisfield and Powfoot.


According to one independent analysis, 83 per cent of premises in Dumfries and Galloway have the option to access broadband at speeds of up to 30Mbps and above.


Oliver said: “I’m regularly contacted by constituents about broadband, so it’s been useful to see at first hand the progress that’s being made.


“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, I’m keen to make sure that progress continues at pace.


“It was particularly interesting to hear about the next generation of full fibre broadband, where the fibre runs directly to people’s homes, and the huge difference that a reliable connection brings for everyone in the household.


“Whilst this broadband utopia may be some distance away for most constituents, it’s great to know that some Dumfriesshire residents can already enjoy broadband capabilities which are among the best anywhere in the UK."


Oliver added: "It was helpful to gain an understanding of the engineering work involved in building fibre connections to people’s homes.”


Openreach works with the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and other partners to expand fibre broadband beyond commercial boundaries.